Halichoeres scapularis (Bennett, 1832)
Halichoeres scapularis (Bennett, 1832)
Genus: , , ,

Scientific Name: Halichoeres scapularis

English Name: Zigzag wrasse

Creole Name:

French Name: Labre zigzag

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines: 9; Dorsal rays: 11 rays; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 11.

A small, moderately elongate-bodied wrasse. A patch of 9-12 small scales dorsally on opercle at level of centre of eye. Scales on nape extending anterior 
to a vertical at posterior edge of orbit. Origin of dorsal fin over first to se­cond lateral-line scales. Caudal fin slightly rounded.

Initial phase base colour greenish to yellowish dorsally and white ventrally. A yellow band on side of snout and from eye along upper side 
(primarily on row of scales just under anterior lateral line) to upper base of caudal fin. Stripe broader and more solid on head and anteriorly on body.
May exhibit sark blotch on stripe behind eye. Much of stripe on body with a zigzag pattern as a result of pigment extending diagonally upward from each 
scale below lateral line to lateral-line scale. Stripe narrower posteriorly sometimes broken into a series of yellow spots.

Terminal phase is green. A broad blue-edged pink band on snout from eye to edge of upper lip. The head and nape with pink spots and short irregular bands. 
Lower part of head may be yellow. The zigzag stripe is pink-purple with a dark blotch towards the anterior. The stripe posterior to the dark brown 
anterior section is primarily pink,narrowly edged with blue. caudal fin yellow, the basal part with irregular and interconnecting vertical narrow 
blue-edged pink bands.


Maturity: Unknown. Max length: 20.0 cm TL.

Habitat and Ecology:

Inhabits shallow lagoons and bays, associated with sand, rubble and seagrass (depth 0-20 m), many live in the sand. Solitary. Feeds on small benthic 
crustaceans. The initial phase may be either fe­male or male. 

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is not subject to the artisanal fishery.


Photographed off northwest, Mahé.


Craig, M. & Rocha, L. (2010). Halichoeres scapularis. The IUCN Red List 2010: https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T187454A8539682.en. (25/05/23).
Froese, R. & D. Pauly. Eds. (2023). FishBase. Halichoeres scapularis. https://www.fishbase.se/summary/halichoeres-scapularis (25/05/23). 
Mason-Parker, C. et al. (2021). Halichoeres scapularis in Reef Fishes of Seychelles. John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd, UK.
Randall, J.E. & Smith, M.M. (1982). A Review of the Labrid Fishes of the Genus Halichoeres of the Western Indian Ocean, with descriptions of Six New 
Species. No. 45, March 1982 Ichthyological Bulletin of the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown.


Mason-Parker, C. & Nevill, J.E.G. (2023). Halichoeres scapularis, Zigzag wrasse. Seychelles Seatizens. www.seatizens.sc. https://seatizens.sc/species/halichoeres-scapularis-bennett-1832/

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