Southern Tubelip

Labropsis Australis
Southern Tubelip - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Labropsis Australis
Other names Tubelip Wrasse
Size Up to 10.5 cm (4.13 in)
Weight Up to 50 g (1.76 oz)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst coral rich reefs
Depth Range 1 - 25 m (82 ft)
Southern Tubelip Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Southern Tubelip is a species of marine fish found primarily in Queensland and a few areas of Western Australia.
  • They are primarily greenish-brown or yellowish in colour, with darker patches on their sides and a whitish belly.
  • The Southern Tubelip has a unique mouth shape, with a protruding tube-like upper lip that it uses to scrape algae off rocks and feed on coral polyps.
  • Young fish have been observed to remove external parasites and potentially mucus from other reef fish.
  • The Southern Tubelip is known to form small schools or groups, especially during the breeding season.
  • The breeding season for them occurs during the warmer months, from September to February. During the breeding season, males display a bright orange coloration and a swollen forehead.
  • Estimated lifespan is between 5 – 7 years.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

The Southern Tubelips can be a good aquarium fish but do require specific water and diet requirements, and are more suitable for experienced aquarists. They can be fascinating to observe while snorkeling or diving, especially in their natural habitat on rocky reefs and seagrass beds. They are active swimmers and can be seen darting in and out of crevices and rock formations, searching for food or interacting with other fish.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Labropsis

Species: Labropsis Australis

Conservation Status

The Southern Tubelip is “Data Deficient” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This means that there is not enough data available to assess their conservation status and the population trends of the species.

Southern Tubelip
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate to difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Herbivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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