Wrasse – Rainbow wrasse


Rainbow wrasse

Gozo & MaltaAtlantic SpeciesWrasse

Common Name: Rainbow wrasse

Scientific Names: Corlis julis

Description: This is a small Wrasse with the majority being up to 10cm in this area, the males growing slightly longer and fatter. It has a long and relatively slim body shape. The colours are clear bands of brown, grey, black, white, yellow and reds which run along the entire length of the body from head to tail. Dominant male fish usually have a more variable range of colours with less obvious longitudinal bands, except that large Mediterranean males have a prominent zigzag red to orange band.

Distinctive Features: The horizontal colour bands along the entire length of the fish from head to tail, are highly distinctive.

Abundance: These fish are usually seen in social groups of variable numbers mostly up to 10 or so. Such groups are very common in the shallows and on rock reefs and over nearby sand and often lots of groups of fish are seen (5+) per dive. Likely to be seen at every site that has mixed rock and sand habitats.

Habitat & Behaviour: This species lives near the seabed over rock and sand habitats from the extreme shallows to diving depths. Within the social groups, mature female fish may sex change to form dominant ‘terminal’ males. It is a busy fish and hyper-active during the day. It is often seen following other fish such as Goatfish that are feeding on the seabed (see video 20).

Reaction to Snorkellers & Divers: Wary, and it is a very busy little fish that is not at all easy to photograph.

Text: Bob Earll
Photo: Russell & Gill Bennett
Video: Bob Earll

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