Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

Español  Contact

Species: Halichoeres maculipinna, Clown Wrasse

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

IP - green above & white below, dark stripe snout to base C, 3 red bars across head, D double black spot
TP - grey-brown over yellow, black blotch center s
juv - yellow stripe over black stripe snout to C, back red-brown

Halichoeres maculipinna (Müller & Troschel, 1848)

Clown Wrasse

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 13-15; gill membranes fused under throat; dorsal fin IX, 11, not obviously notched between spiny and soft parts; anal fin III, 11; 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.

Juvenile: lower ½ white; a broad black stripe from top of mouth, through eye to end of tail base above that; a thin yellow stripe above that, and a dark brown stripe along top of back above that. Initial phase: head yellowish green, with red lines radiating forwards, up and back from eye, a red stripe from mouth to end of operculum; upper body greenish to brownish; white below, short pink bars on many of body scales; median fins reddish, a double black spot on dorsal spines ~V & VI. Terminal phase: head yellow below, green above, with red lines radiating forwards, up and back from eye, several red stripes from mouth to end of operculum; upper back brown to olive; a broad yellow stripe along flank to tail base, white below that, with a large black blotch on upper belly above anus; dorsal fin green, with red stripes and a large, elongated black spot at spines ~V-VI; anal fin green, with red stripes; tail fin green with central red stripes and red upper, lower and rear margins.

Reaches 15 cm.

Reef and adjacent sand bottoms.

Depth range: 2-50 m.

The Carolinas to the S Caribbean; its sister species in Brazil is Halichoeres penrosei.

High Resolution Map Download

Species Data Create Report Export as Word File Export as Excel File
  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sea anemones
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Sessile worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • No pelagic phase
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 15
Depth Range Min
  • 2
Depth Range Max
  • 50