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Species: Halichoeres poeyi, Blackear Wrasse

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

IP - green, dark spot behind eye, red lines - head & fins
TP - like IP, stronger colors
juv - green, D: ocellus on spines, spot - end fin base

Halichoeres poeyi (Steindachner, 1867)

Blackear 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 17-20; gill membranes fused under throat; dorsal fin IX, 12, 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.

Juvenile: yellowish green, sometimes with irregular short brown bars on scales along the center flank; dorsal fin with an elongate black ocellus at end of spines and a small black spot at rear of base of dorsal fin; a small black spot at center of end of tail base. Initial phase: similar to TP but colors less intense and body uniform greenish yellow. Terminal phase: body greenish; 2 yellow brown bars under spiny dorsal; head yellow-green, a prominent iridescent black/orange spot immediately behind eye; 2 pink stripes forward from eye, lower one extends back along operculum, a 3rd one from mouth back along operculum; upper base of pectoral fin with a blue-black spot; a black spot on rear base of dorsal fin; tail fin yellowish, with converging blue-bordered pink stripes.

Reaches 20 cm.

Seagrass beds and along the edges of reefs.

Depth range: 0-71 m.

Georgia to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sand & gravel
  • 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
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Sessile worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-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
  • 20
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 71