Golden Wrasse

Halichoeres Chrysus
Golden Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Halichoeres Chrysus
Other names Yellow Wrasse
Size Up to 10 cm (4 in)
Weight Under 100 grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst sand, rocks & rubble next to coral reefs
Depth Range 1 - 30 m (98 ft)
Golden Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The golden wrasse is a species of marine fish found in the shallow coral reefs and rocky shores of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, and New South Wales, Australia.
  • Males of this species have bright golden-yellow bodies with blue and purple markings on the face and fins, while females have duller yellow bodies with brownish markings.
  • Golden wrasses are carnivorous and feed mainly on small invertebrates such as crustaceans, molluscs, and worms. They also feed on small fish and fish eggs.
  • They are known to form social groups in the wild, often consisting of one dominant male and several females. These groups may also include juvenile males, which have not yet changed into their bright yellow coloration.
  • Golden wrasses are highly active and curious fish, making them fun to observe in the wild. They are often seen darting in and out of coral crevices and rocky outcroppings, hunting for small invertebrates.
  • Golden wrasses are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they begin life as females and can change into males as they mature. This process is triggered by social cues and changes in the size of the population.
  • During breeding, males attract females by displaying their bright yellow coloration and performing courtship rituals. After mating, females lay eggs in nests that males have built in the sand or under rocks.
  • Estimated lifespan is up to 6 years.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

Golden wrasses are highly active and curious fish, making them fun to observe for snorkelers and divers. Their bright yellow colour makes the easy to identify on the reef. They are also popular for aquariums but are hard to source and difficult to breed in captivity.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Halichoeres

Species: Halichoeres Chrysus

Conservation Status

In Australia, the golden wrasse is not considered a threatened species and is classified as of “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Golden Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 80 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Curious

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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