Spot-tail Wrasse

Coris Caudimacula
Spot-tail Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Coris Caudimacula
Other names Tailspot Rainbow Wrasse, Spotted Tail Wrasse
Size Up to 50 cm (20 in)
Weight Up to 1 kg (2.2 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst sandy & seagrass areas rich with algae near reefs
Depth Range 3 - 30 m (98 ft)
Spot-tail Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Spot-tail Wrasse is found along the northern and western coasts of Australia.
  • They have a distinctive appearance, with a bright red body, a blue-green head, and a spotted tail. The spots on their tail are more pronounced in juveniles and females.
  • They have a varied diet that includes crustaceans, small fish, and molluscs.
  • Spot-tail Wrasse have a unique feeding behaviour where they use their pectoral fins to prop themselves up while they pick small prey off the reef.
  • They are not territorial and are generally peaceful with other fish in the reef community.
  • The Spot-tail Wrasse is a protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning they start life as females and can later change into males. This transition usually occurs when the male population is low.
  • Spot-tail Wrasse are active during the day and rest at night, hiding in crevices and among coral.
  • They are known to spawn during the warmer months of the year, typically from October to April. Males court females by performing a “zigzag” dance and displaying their fins to attract a female. Once a pair has formed, they swim up into the water column and release their eggs and sperm simultaneously, creating a cloud of fertilised eggs.
  • Estimated lifespan is up to 20 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

The Spottail Wrasse can be a fascinating species to observe for snorkelers and divers. They are active swimmers and are often seen swimming in small groups around coral reefs and rocky areas, searching for food. Their bright blue-green and red body and distinctive spot at the base of their tail make them easy to spot underwater. They are often caught as bycatch with anglers and normally released. They can be a good addition to larger established aquariums but do grow to a larger size so need space.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Coris

Species: Coris Caudimacula

Conservation Status

The Spottail Wrasse is not considered a threatened species in Australia, and is listed as of ‘Least Concern’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Fish Taste Quality

Spot-tail wrasse are an edible fish but typically released as they are considered bycatch. They have firm, white flesh that is said to be mild in taste.

Taste Rating: 2/5

How to catch
Spot-tail Wrasse

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Lures, Prawns, Squid, Worms

Technique: Keep bait on the bottom, Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Not targeted - Bycatch

Spot-tail Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 120 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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