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Wrasse; Brown Spotted

Wrasse; Brown Spotted

Notolabrus parilus

There are over 400 species worldwide within the wrasse family, Labridae, roughly half of which are found in Australia.  Size, shape and behavioural patterns vary greatly between species, however one common characteristic of this family is that they are protogynous hermaphrodites.  That is all juveniles are born female, they consequently join a female harem that is dominated by a single male and if the behavioural cues of the male are missing the largest female will ultimately change sex.  Juvenile and female brown-spotted wrasse have a mottled brown to cream appearance.  Males can grow to a large size of 49 centimetres and have an orange-brown background with a white stripe along the side and numerous orange spots covering the sides.

The brown-spotted wrasse is endemic to Australian waters, and is most common in southern Western Australia.  The species range from Shark Bay, WA to Queenscliff, Victoria.  Adults are abundant on rocky reefs to 20 metres depth, and in areas densely covered in algal growth, particularly sargassum and kelp.  Juveniles inhabit shallow weed and seagrass areas.

Other common names include:  orange-spotted wrasse, brown-spotted parrotfish, blue-spotted parrotfish.

Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty: 

The brown spotted wrasse is commonly observed from the underwater observatory.  Both females and large males occur in abundance, with the males often seen resting on their side upon ledges of the observatory.

Image by: O. Rynvis