False-eyed Wrasse

Halichoeres Biocellatus
False-eyed Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Halichoeres Biocellatus
Other names Biocellated Wrasse, Redlined Wrasse, Twospot Wrasse
Size Up to 12 cm (4.7 in)
Weight Under 50 grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst sandy, rocky & rubble areas next to reefs
Depth Range 2 - 30 m (98 ft)
False-eyed Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • False-eyed Wrasses are found in various locations throughout Australia, including Western Australia, the Northern Territory, to the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, and Lord Howe Island.
  • Females are pinkish-orange with two black spots on their dorsal fin, while males are greenish-blue with a black stripe on their sides and a yellow stripe on their dorsal fin.
  • False-eyed Wrasses are known for their distinctive markings, which include a pair of black spots on their dorsal fin, giving the impression of “false eyes.” This is thought to be a defence mechanism to deter predators.
  • False-eyed Wrasses feed primarily on small crustaceans, worms, and other invertebrates that they find on or near the coral reefs.
  • These fish are hermaphroditic, which means they change sex from female to male.
  • False-eyed Wrasse spawn during the day in groups of several females with a dominant male. The male will fertilise the eggs as they are released into the water column.
  • Estimated lifespan is up to 6 years.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

False-eyed Wrasses are not the easiest fish to keep in an aquarium, and are best suited for experienced hobbyists. These fish require a mature and stable reef aquarium environment with plenty of hiding spots, live rock, and coral formations. A sand substrate is also recommended. They are relatively easy to observe in the wild, making them a popular fish for snorkelers and divers to look out for when exploring coral reefs in Australia. Their unique marking of “false eyes” on their dorsal fins, make them easily to identify.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Halichoeres

Species: Halichoeres Biocellatus

Conservation Status

The False-eyed Wrasse is not currently classified as threatened by the IUCN, and is listed as “Least Concern”. In Australia they are not considered to be threatened.

False-eyed Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 40 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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