Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Halichoeres discolor, Cocos wrasse, Variegated wrasse

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

IP: white + rows black blotches
TP: red + green + yellow + brown blotches
juvenile: white + black blotches

Halichoeres discolor Bussing, 1983

Variegated wrasse, Cocos wrasse

Moderately elongate, compressed; enlarged canine teeth at front of both jaws (1 pair above, 2 pairs below), a canine at rear of top jaws; dorsal fin  IX, 11; anal rays III, 12; pectoral rays 13; lateral line unbroken, but abruptly bent down under rear of dorsal fin, its tubes branched, except those on tail base; lateral line with 27 pored scales.

IP: white (except head yellowish) with pair of blackish stripes on head and anterior most part of body; 3-4 large irregular blackish blotches on middle to lower half of side and smaller blotches at base or on dorsal fin; TP: bright yellow on lower half of head, cheeks with two blue stripes; belly yellow; mainly charcoal grey on upper half, with reddish blotches along top of back; tail fin with yellow margin and pair of yellow spots on basal part; juveniles similar to IP, but with more white coloration and with black ocellated spot at middle of dorsal fin.

Size: grows to 15 cm, common to 10 cm.

Habitat: in rock and rubble areas.

Depth: 1-30 m.

Isla del Coco and Malpelo, strays to Panama.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Corals
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Rocks
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • No Data
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • Island (s) only
  • TEP oceanic island (s) endemic
  • TEP endemic
  • Multiple oceanic islands endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Vulnerable
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 15
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 30