Silty Wrasse

Halichoeres Purpurescens
Silty Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Halichoeres Purpurescens
Other names Greyhead Wrasse, Chainline Wrasse, Chainlined Wrasse
Size Up to 13 cm (5.1 in)
Weight Under 100 grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst reefs rich with coral & algae
Depth Range 2 - 15 m (50 ft)
Silty Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Silty Wrasse is a common reef fish found in the shallow waters of Western Australia, including the Ningaloo Reef and the Kimberley coast. They have also been found in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
  • They have a distinctive long and pointed snout with a dark purplish-brown body and a white or pale belly. They can change colour quickly to blend in with their surroundings or to signal aggression or submission. Juveniles have a different coloration, with a greenish-grey body and a white or pale belly, and horizontal black stripes on the head, which fade as they mature.
  • It is a diurnal species, which means that it is most active during the day.
  • They are a carnivorous fish and feeds on a variety of small invertebrates, including crustaceans and molluscs, as well as plankton.
  • They are hermaphrodites, starting out as females and then changing into males as they mature.
  • Breeding season occurs during summer with the fish releasing their eggs and sperm into the water column during this spawning events. The fertilised eggs then hatch into planktonic larvae that drift with the ocean currents until they settle on suitable substrates, where they undergo metamorphosis into juvenile fish.
  • Estimated lifespan is up to 10 years.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

Silty wrasse are active swimmers, and they spend most of their time darting in and out of the rocky crevices and coral formations of the reef. They are known for their striking coloration, with a mix of bright green, blue, and orange hues that can be quite eye-catching. They are a very popular fish for aquariums, snorkelers and divers.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Halichoeres

Species: Halichoeres Purpurescens

Conservation Status

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, Silty wrasse is currently listed as “Least Concern” in terms of its conservation status. This means that the species is not currently facing any major threats to its population and is considered to be relatively stable.

Silty Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate to difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 60 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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