Halichoeres nebulosus (Valenciennes, 1839)

Common Name: 
Cloud Wrasse
Distribution: 

Abundant in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Widespread tropical Indo-West Pacific region: throughout the tropical and subtropical Indian Ocean including the Red Sea. In Australia recorded from around Geraldton across the tropical north, the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef south to southern New South Wales, and including Lord Howe Island.

Ecological Notes: 

Frequents reef flats, reef margins and rocky shores and coral slopes. Depth from surge zone to at least 40 m.

Additional Notes: 

Adults have pink bar on cheek which is slightly boomerang shaped and discontinuous with other cheek markings, small black spot at upper edge of operculum. Sexes similar in colour, females with brighter pink patch on the belly. On immature adults yellow marks before and after pectoral fin and prominent pink blotch on belly, see second photograph.  Small juvenile around 30 mm in length in third photograph, tiny juvenile around 10 mm at bottom. Often in groups, eats small invertebrates. Similar to Pearly Wrasse, H. margaritaceus in juvenile stages and best identified by presence of adults.  Grows to 12 cm.

References: 

 R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.314.

Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=halichoeres+nebulosus. Accessed 30/05/18.

FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Halichoeres-nebulosus.html. Accessed 30/05/18.