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Species: Polylepion cruentum, Bleeding wrasse

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slender oval, tapering
large eye
red + yellow side stripe



Polylepion cruentum Gomon, 1977

Bleeding wrasse

Body moderately slender, tapering markedly at rear; head large, pointed, forehead & snout profile ~straight (except for bump over eyes in small fish); nape nearly straight in large fish, arched in small fish; eye large; mouth ~ horizontal, reaches to between front edge & center of eye, lower lip thick; both jaws with 2 pairs of front canines; top jaw with 1 (1-2) large rear canines; lower jaw without large rear canines; gill rakers 5-8+10-12; dorsal fin XI, 11; anal fin III, 12; pectoral rays II, 17-19; lateral line complete, front part high near upper body profile then curving smoothly down under the soft dorsal; lateral line scales 52-53; no scales on bases of dorsal and anal fins; scales before dorsal fin 25-32, extend along nape to  before front nostril; sides and underside of head  heavily scaled.
Upper head & body pink to red, lower body yellowish; underside of head, breast and lower belly white; largest fish with 1 yellow or white stripe, from top corner of operculum to flank under 4th dorsal soft ray; head with wavy yellow stripes and marks: stripe across snout between front of eyes, another from top lip along lower edge of eye to upper corner of operculum; dorsal fin with black pigment between front 3-4 spines, 2 pink stripes on soft fin, yellow outer margin; anal fin white, broad yellow margin; pelvics white; pectorals clear, with broad blood-red bar on base; a upper base of tail fin with a large oval red spot (indistinct in largest fish, black in juveniles); tail fin yellow, with pink top and bottom borders, or entirely red. Juvenile with upper 2/3 of body with 3-4 narrow, wavy red stripes, separated by pearly pink stripes.
Reaches 25 cm.
Caught on soft bottoms associated with rock.
Depth: 132-305m.
Baja California to Colombia; Cocos Island.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Mud
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sand & gravel
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • TEP endemic
  • Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Data deficient
  • Not listed
Depth Range Max
  • 305
Depth Range Min
  • 132
Length Max
  • 25