Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Halichoeres radiatus, Puddingwife, Puddingwife Wrasse

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IP - orange + blue marks, back: ~ 5 white bars + 2 black blotches
TP blue grey + white saddlesunder D
juv: orange + blue , large ocellus on D & back

Halichoeres radiatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Puddingwife, Puddingwife 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 21-23; gill membranes fused under throat; dorsal fin IX, 11, 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: Orange-yellow; a blue-grey stripe from under eye to end of tail base, 5 blue-grey bars on body above that stripe; a large black and grey ocellus on dorsal fin at junction of spines and rays, extends onto upper body; an ocellus on end of upper tail base; larger fish yellow-brown; blue-grey lines radiating from eye, a blue-grey stripe from mouth; body scales with oval blue-grey spots; 2 large black elongate blotches on rear of upper back, front blotch with white bars on either side. Initial phase: orange-brown head and body with a blue-grey overlay; scales with blue-grey spots; 5 white blotches along upper back between nape and end of tail base; fins yellow-brown with blue lines and spots. Terminal phase: brownish with strong blue-grey cast; head with many blue lines radiating from eye; scales with blue spots; several whitish saddles along back and sometimes a diffuse white bar from top to bottom of body just behind pectoral fin; fins with many blue lines and spots.

Reaches 51 cm.

Lives on reefs.

Depth range: 1-55 m.

N Carolina to Brazil. It also has a brazilian sister species, H. brasiliensis.

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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)
  • 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
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
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
  • 51
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 55