Thalassoma purpureum (Forsskål, 1775)
Thalassoma purpureum (Forsskål, 1775)
Genus: , ,

Scientific Name: Thalassoma purpureum

English Name: Surge wrasse

Creole Name: Tanmaren parter

French Name: Girelle hublot

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines: 8; Dorsal rays: 12-14; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 10-12.

Moderately deep bodied, medium-sized wrasse. Dorsal profile of head moderately convex. Small mouth with 2 prominent canines situated anteriorly in each jaw. Dorsal fin 
continuous, the anterior dorsal soft rays somewhat longer than spines. Caudal fin varies from slightly rounded in young to emarginate or double emarginate in large adults.


Initial Phase: light red, with 2 longitudinal bands of close-set vertically elliptical or rectangular green spots on flanks. 3 longitudinal light red zones of body often 
overlaid with a series of dark brown blotches. Head greenish dorsally with numerous dark reddish spots and short irregular lines, and pale orangish ventrally. Dorsal fin 
orange with a longitudinal green band above middle of fin, and a black spot on first 2 interspinous membranes. Anal fin with alternating bands of salmon pink and green or 
blue. Caudal fin streaked longitudinally with green and orange, the corners blue. Paired fins pale pinkish to yellowish, the base of the pectoral with a light red band.

Terminal Phase: green with 3 irregular pink stripes on body, becoming turquoise ventrally. Head turquoise with broad irregular pink bands dorsally and a broad diagonal 
pink band angled posteriorly and ventrally from eye, branching at preopercle, and continuing to edge of opercle at level of lower pectoral base. Dorsal fin green at base, 
with pink band and turquoise margin. Anal fin turquoise with a longitudinal pink band in lower third of fin. Paired fins turquoise.


Maturity: Lm unknown. Range unknown. Max Length: 46 cm TL.

Habitat and Ecology:

Found almost exclusively in the surge zone of outer reef flats, reef margins, and rocky coastlines (depth 0-10 m). It is a common sight for snorkelers around the coasts of 
the central archipelago. Feeds upon small fishes and invertebrates including crabs, sea urchins, brittle stars, molluscs and polychaete worms. Protogynous hermaphrodite. 
Males grow much larger than females. Usually occurs in groups with a dominant male, and several females and juveniles.

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is caught occasionally by hook and line but more typically in net fisheries, regardless it is a rare 
component of the catch.


T. purpureum and T. trilobatum have nearly identical initial (female) phases and only differ slightly in coloration and length of the head. The female of T. purpureum is 
best distinguished by a V-shaped mark on the snout.


Bray, D.J. (2018). Thalassoma purpureum in Fishes of Australia, (14/04/20).
Cabanban, A. & Pollard, D. (2010). Thalassoma purpureum. The IUCN Red List 2010: (13/04/20).
Fischer, W. & G. Bianchi (Eds) (1984).  FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean; (Fishing Area 51). Prepared and printed with the 
support of the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA). Rome, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, vols 1-6.
Froese, R. & D. Pauly. (Eds.) (2019). FishBase. Thalassoma purpureum (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.


Nevill, J.E.G. (2019). Thalassoma purpureum, Surge wrasse. Seychelles Seatizens. (edited 14/07/22).

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