Threespot Wrasse

Halichoeres Trimaculatus
Threespot Wrasse - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Halichoeres Trimaculatus
Other names Spottedtail Rainbowfish, Threespot Rainbowfish
Size Up to 27 cm (10.6 in)
Weight Up to .80 kg (1.76 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, bays & lagoons amongst rubble & sandy areas often near reefs
Depth Range 1 - 40 m (131 ft)
Threespot Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The threespot wrasse is a commonly found fish species in the waters of northern Australia. Primarily found in Western Australia and Queensland.
  • They have a slender body with a pointed snout and a large mouth. Its coloration is vibrant and varies from yellow, green, pink to blue, and it has three black spots located on its dorsal fin, which give it its name.
  • Juvenile threespot wrasse have a different coloration compared to the adults. They are generally green or yellow, and lack the black spots on their dorsal fin.
  • They are a carnivorous fish that feeds on small invertebrates such as crabs, shrimps, and other small crustaceans.
  • The fish’s mating behaviour involves the male defending a territory where several females will lay their eggs.
  • The breeding season of threespot varies depending on their location. In Queensland, the breeding season occurs from September to February, while in Western Australia, it occurs from June to September.
  • During the breeding season, the males will establish a territory while attracting females to spawn. The females will then lay their eggs in the male’s territory, and the male will fertilise them externally. The eggs will hatch after a few days, and the juveniles will be dispersed by the currents.
  • Estimated lifespan is up to 8 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

Threespot Wrasse are often caught as bycatch for anglers targeting other species. They are typically a catch and release species. They are more know for their striking colours and are a popular species for aquariums and to observe in the wild for snorkelers and divers.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Halichoeres

Species: Halichoeres Trimaculatus

Conservation Status

The conservation status of threespot wrasse in Australia is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. This means that their populations are currently considered stable and not under significant threat.

Fish Taste Quality

Threespot wrasse are considered an okay eating fish and are sometimes caught by recreational anglers. Their meat is white, firm, and has a mild, sweet flavour.

Taste Rating: 2/5

How to catch
Threespot Wrasse

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Worms

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

Popularity: Not targeted

Threespot Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Easy to moderate

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 80 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None