Iniistius pavo (Valenciennes, 1840)
Iniistius pavo (Valenciennes, 1840)
Genus: , ,

Scientific Name: Iniistius pavo

English Name: Peacock wrasse

Creole Name: Penis

French Name: Rason paon

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines: 9; Dorsal rays: 12-13; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 12-13.

Highly compressed body and a steep head profile, approaching the vertical, forehead with a firm knife-like anterior edge. A pair of long curved canine teeth anterior in jaws, 
followed by a row of strong conical teeth and two or three inner rows of nodular teeth. First two dorsal spines well separated from rest of fin, originating over posterior 
of eye the spine is flexible and elongate, the first more than twice the length of the remaining spines in adults (much longer in juveniles). Caudal fin small and rounded.

Colour. Adults grey on back shading to yellowish white below with three indistinct broad dark bars on body and a fourth on caudal fin base. Often also with an indistinct 
diagonal bar below the eye. Small blue edged black spot just above lateral line, centred below the 6th dorsal spine.

Juveniles have elongate anterior dorsal-fin spines forming a 'flag" and three ocelli along the dorsal fin. They vary in colour from whitish with dark bars on the body, to 
overall brown in colour.


Maturity: Lm unknown. Range unknown. Max Length: 42cm TL.

Habitat and Ecology:

Usually solitary in lagoon and seaward reef areas with fine to loose, coarse sand bottoms (depth 1-100 m, typically 20-30 m). Lives on open sandy areas and dives into sand, 
with the approach of danger, enabled by slim body and sharp anterior surface. Small juveniles mimic drifting leaf litter and debris. Feeds mostly on hard-shelled prey, 
including molluscs and crustaceans. Distinct pairing during breeding.

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is caught in the trap, net and handline fisheries, but is a rare component of the catch.





Bray, D.J. (2017). Iniistius pavo in Fishes of Australia, (24/03/20).
Froese, R. & D. Pauly. (Eds.) (2019). FishBase. (05/06/19).
Randall, J.E. (1986). Labridae. p. 683-706. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
Russell, B. (2010). Iniistius pavo. The IUCN Red List 2010: (24/03/20).


Nevill, J.E.G. (2019). Iniistius pavo, Peacock wrasse. Seychelles Seatizens. (edited 12/07/22).  

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