Surge Wrasse

Thalassoma Purpureum
Surge Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Thalassoma Purpureum
Other names Green Blocked Wrasse, Purple Wrasse, Red & Green Wrasse
Size Up to 46 cm (18.11 in)
Weight Up to 1.25 kg (2.75 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst rocky & coral reefs on outer edges in surge zones
Depth Range 1 - 30 m (100 ft)
Surge Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The surge wrasse is a species of fish commonly found in the coastal waters of Australia, particularly in the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea.
  • Surge wrasses are characterised by their bright purple colour, which is most vivid in adult males. Juvenile surge wrasses have a greenish-yellow body with black spots, which gradually disappear as they mature.
  • They are carnivorous and feed on small invertebrates such as crustaceans, molluscs, small fish and worms.
  • Surge wrasses are highly territorial and aggressive towards other fish that encroach on their territory.
  • Adult males are known to engage in elaborate courtship displays to attract females.
  • Breeding occurs during the summer months where the males create nest sites to attract females, they inspect the sites and if happy lay eggs. The male fertilises the eggs, guards the nest site, and protects the developing eggs from predators and intruding males.
  • The estimated lifespan is up to 10 years in the wild.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

The Surge Wrasse can be a good aquarium fish for experienced hobbyists who have a large tank, provide a well-established and stable aquarium environment, and are willing to provide the necessary care. They are an aggressive fish towards other species. They can be an interesting and colourful sight for snorkelers and divers who encounter them in their natural habitat.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Thalassoma

Species: Thalassoma Purpureum

Conservation Status

There is limited information available on the conservation status of the Surge Wrasse in Australia, but the species is not considered to be of conservation concern in its native range.

How to catch
Surge Wrasse

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

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

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

Popularity: Targeted

Surge Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate to difficult

Temperament: Aggressive

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Aggressive

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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