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Species: Halichoeres bivittatus, Slippery dick, Slippery Dick Wrasse

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

IP 1 & juv - green/white; dark stripe - snout to C base; center D ocellus
black spot - top corner operculum
TP: green & pink; pink lines radiate from eye; C green + convergent pink stripes
IP 2 - like TP, colors fainter

Halichoeres bivittatus (Bloch, 1791)

Slippery dick

Elongate, compressed; mouth protrusible, opens at front, thick lips; rear of top jawbone not visible on cheek; toothed grinding plates in throat; enlarged canine teeth at front of both jaws (1 pair above, 2 pairs below), a canine at rear of top jaws; gill rakers 16-19; gill membranes fused under throat; dorsal fin IX, 10, not obviously notched between spiny and soft parts; anal fin III, 12; lateral line unbroken, but abruptly bent down under rear of dorsal fin, its tubes branched, except those on tail base, with 26-29 pored scales.

Initial phase variable: Pattern1. similar to TP but less strongly colored;  Pattern 2. whitish with a brown stripe from snout to base of tail fin, that stripe breaking up into spots towards the rear; sometimes a second paler dark stripe from chin to rear of tail base under the main stripe; a black and yellow spot at upper corner of operculum; a black ocellus on center of dorsal fin. Terminal phase: head and body greenish; pink lines from eye to snout, nape and back, and upper edge of operculum, and from mouth across center of operculum; a black and pink spot at upper corner of operculum; a dark grey stripe from operculum to tail base; dorsal and anal fins pink, with a central green stripe; tail fin greenish blue with 3 pairs of pink stripes that converge at end of fin from its upper and lower borders.

Reaches 22 cm.

Reef edges, seagrass and macroalgal beds, sand and rubble bottoms.

Depth range: 0-59 m, common in very shallow water.

N Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Rocks
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Corals
  • Sand & gravel
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Sea anemones
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Bony fishes
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • All species.
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Extends South of GC
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Island (s)
  • All species..
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 22
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 59