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Species: Halichoeres pictus, Rainbow Wrasse

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

IP - yellow above, brown stripe snout to C base, fins yellow
TP - green-brown over blue-white; large elongate ocellus - tail base & C; D orange
juv - orange over white; dark stripe - snout, through eye to mid-body, white stripe above that

Halichoeres pictus (Poey, 1860)

Rainbow 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 17-18; 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, 26-29 pored scales.

Juvenile: head grey to whitish, body orange-yellow; a blackish to dark brown stripe from snout, through eye along midflank fading to brown then disappearing under the dorsal fin; a white stripe (which also fades behind) directly above the dark stripe. Initial phase: yellow-orange upper half, white below; a dark brown stripe from snout, through eye to end of tail base; a white stripe above that; fins yellow. Terminal phase: upper ½ of head and front of body green to red, changing to olive to orange-brown along rear ½ of body, lower half bluey white; those two colors may be separated by a black stripe from nose to end of tail base that joins a large elongate black and blue ocellus at the end of tail base and base of the caudal fin; a blue stripe above eye and 2 below; lower head with blue stripes; dorsal fin orange to red, anal fin blue.

Reaches 13 cm.

Outer edges of reefs.

Depth range: 5-55 m.

Bermuda to the S Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Near Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Water column
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • 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
  • 13
Depth Range Min
  • 5
Depth Range Max
  • 55