Leaf Wrasse

Iniistius Dea
Leaf Wrasse - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Iniistius Dea
Other names Blackspot Razorfish
Size Up to 12 cm (4.7 in)
Weight Under 100 grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst sandy & rubble areas next to reefs
Depth Range 1 - 30 m (98 ft)
Leaf Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The leaf wrasse, is primarily found in the Western Central Pacific region, specifically in the coastal waters of Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Queensland. With spotting’s down through New South Wales to northern parts of Victoria.
  • The leaf wrasse has a unique and striking appearance due to its elongated, flattened body shape that resembles a leaf. Its coloration and patterns serve as an effective camouflage, allowing it to blend in with its coral and rocky reef environment.
  • The body of the leaf wrasse exhibits a combination of green, brown, and yellow hues, often with a mottled or marbled appearance. These colours are typically intermixed with irregular, darker patches that further enhance its leaf-like appearance.
  • The diet of the leaf wrasse consists primarily of small invertebrates such as crustaceans and molluscs. They are known for their unique feeding strategy, which involves picking out prey items from the surface of rocks and coral structures.
  • The leaf wrasse is a protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning it can change sex from female to male as it matures.
  • During the breeding season, males display vibrant colours and patterns to attract females and become more territorial. Breeding habits are not well-documented, it is believed that they engage in external fertilisation, where females release eggs into the water column to be fertilised by males.
  • Estimated lifespan is up to 5 years.
Species Interaction

Snorkeling & Diving

The leaf wrasse is a interesting fish to observe in the wild, if they can be found. They can be challenging to spot due to their cryptic coloration and patterns, which help them blend in with their coral and rocky reef environment.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Iniistius

Species: Iniistius Dea

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the leaf wrasse is classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, indicating that it is not currently at risk of extinction.

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Difficult

Temperament: Shy

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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