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Halichoeres pictus, Rainbow Wrasse
Dr. Ashley Gosselin-Ildari - Duke University
Halichoeres pictus
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Mr. Douglas Weaver/Flower Garden Banks NMS

Image processing: Dr. Jessie Maisano
Publication Date: 11 Apr 2003


The rainbow wrasse (Halichoeres pictus) belongs to a group of fish known as Perciformes. Perciformes contains over 9000 species, which account for more than one-third of all fish species (Nelson 1994; Helfman, 1997). Perciformes typically occupy marine habitats, however they can also be found in tropical and subtropical freshwater habitats (Nelson, 1994).

Within Perciformes, wrasses comprise the group Labridae (Randall et al., 1990, Nelson, 1994; Bond, 1996; Helfman, 1997). There are about 500 species of wrasses, which are located in tropical and warm-temperate waters (Bond, 1996; Helfman, 1997). Wrasses are the second most common fish found in the Great Barrier Reef (Randall et al., 1990).

Size of wrasses ranges from 4.5 cm to 2.3 m (Nelson, 1994; Helfman, 1997). They are diurnal (Helfman, 1997) and carnivorous (Randall et al., 1990). When resting at night, individuals may enter reefs or bury themselves in sand on the ocean floor (Nelson, 1994; Helfman, 1997).

Wrasses are usually brightly colored and species are sexually dichromatic. Interestingly, many species undergo sex changes throughout life (Bond 1996; Helfman, 1997). In these species, individuals typically start life as a female and later change to the male sex. This transformation often involves changing colors and/or shape.

About the Species

This specimen was collected off of Marathon, Florida Keys, Florida by Mr. Forrest Young of Dynasty Marine Associates. It was made available to the University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility for scanning by Mr. Douglas Weaver of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

Halichoeres pictus
Lateral view of the scanned specimen.

About this Specimen

The specimen was scanned by Matthew Colbert on 23 September 2002. It was scanned along the coronal axis for a total of 864 1024x1024 pixel slices. Each slice is 0.0418 mm thick, with an interslice spacing of 0.0418 mm and a field of reconstruction of 36 mm.

About the


Bond, C. E. 1996. Biology of Fishes. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth, TX. 750 pp.

Helfman, G. S., B. B. Collette, and D. E. Facey. 1997. The Diversity of Fishes. Blackwell Science, Inc., Malden, MA. 528 pp.

Nelson, J. S. 1994. Fishes of the World. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, NY. 600 pp.

Randall, J. E., G. R. Allen, and R. C. Steene. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, HI. 507 pp.


Halichoeres pictus on Fishbase

& Links

Front page image.

Halichoeres pictus

To cite this page: Dr. Ashley Gosselin-Ildari, 2003, "Halichoeres pictus" (On-line), Digital Morphology. Accessed July 20, 2024 at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Halichoeres_pictus/.

©2002-20019 - UTCT/DigiMorph Funding by NSF