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Novaculichthys taeniourus

(Labre masqu?)


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Family : Wrasses ; Inhabits semi-exposed reef flats and lagoon and seaward reefs[1]. Common in areas of mixed sand , and rubble that are subject to mild surge[1]. Juveniles shallow on rubble amongst large bommies or protected open patches on reef crests and swim as if were a leaf floating along the bottom ; large adults move along over large reef section, usually in pairs and typically turn or shift large pieces of rubble or debris that they grab and pull with their mouth or push over with their snout. Often, while one works the piece, the other grabs exposed prey . They are sometimes called rock-mover wrasse, but they don't move real rocks[2]. Highly territorial [3]. Feeds on mollusks, sea urchins, brittle stars, polychaetes , and crabs[4]; feeding is done by overturning large rocks to expose target preys. The young imitate drifting masses of algae[5]. Marketed fresh[6]. Minimum depth reported from Ref. 30874.

Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Afrikaans:

Rotsskuiwer lipvis, Rotsskuiwer-lipvis

Common Names in Austronesian:

Lisheileil, Potofúsúfús

Common Names in Austronesian (Other):

Lisheileil, Potofúsúfús

Common Names in Bikol:

Hipus, Maringyan

Common Names in Carolinian:

Lisheileil, Potof, Potofúsúfús

Common Names in Cebuano:


Common Names in Chavacano:


Common Names in Chinese:

帶尾新隆魚, 花尾连鳍鱼

Common Names in Danish:


Common Names in Davawenyo:

Ipus-ipus, Mul-mul

Common Names in Dutch:


Common Names in English:

Bar cheeked wrasse, Bar-Cheeked Wrasse, Carpet Wrasse, Clown wrasse, Dragon Stingray, Dragon wrasse, Masked wrasse, Olive scribbled wrasse, Olive-scribbled wrasse, Reindeer wrasse, rockmover, Rockmover wrasse, Tahiti sand wrasse, Wrasse

Common Names in Fijian:


Common Names in French:

Labre masqu?, Labre Masqu, Labre masqué, Mardel, Rason, Rason algue

Common Names in Gela:


Common Names in German:

Brauner Bäumchenfisch

Common Names in Hiligaynon:


Common Names in Ilokano:

Balaki, Labayan, Verde verde

Common Names in Japanese:

Obi tensumodoki, Obi-tensumodoki

Common Names in Malay:

Bayan, Keling tanduk

Common Names in Malayalam:

Balala, Pongan, പൊങന്, പൊങ്ങന്, ബലള , ബലാല

Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:

带尾新隆鱼, 帶尾新隆魚, 花尾美鰭魚, 花尾美鳍鱼

Common Names in Maranao/Samal/Tao Su:

Pilok Lusay

Common Names in Maranao/Samal/Tao Sug:

Pilok lusay

Common Names in Marshall:


Common Names in Marshallese:


Common Names in Other:

Banog, Danlugan, Lampalampa, Lubay-lubay, Molmol, Pilo-pilo, Pirat-pirat, Tausay, Taysiw

Common Names in Portuguese:

Donzela algueira

Common Names in Samoan:

Sugale gasufi, Sugale la'o, Sugale taili, Sugale-gasufi, Sugale-la'o, Sugale-taili

Common Names in Spanish:

Cuchillo drag?n, Cuchillo Drag, cuchillo dragón, Doncella alguera, Se, Se?orita alguera, Señorita alguera, Vieja Drag, Vieja drag?n, Vieja dragón

Common Names in Spanish, Castilian:

Cuchillo dragón, Doncella alguera, Señorita alguera, Vieja dragón

Common Names in Surigaonon:

Apache, Lubay-lubay

Common Names in Swahili:


Common Names in Tagalog:

Bankilan, Bungat, Isdang bato, Labayan, Mameng

Common Names in Tahitian:

Po'ou, Po'ou hou one, Po'ou upaupa

Common Names in Tuamotuan:


Common Names in Visayan:

Labayan, Tamago

Common Names in Waray-waray:

Labayan, Lubayan


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Physical Description

Species Novaculichthys taeniourus

Rockmover wrasses , also called dragon wrasses, have an oblong compressed body and a wedge-shaped head . Except for two scales on the upper part of the gill coverings and an almost vertical row of small scales behind each eye. their head is scaleless . In juveniles the first two dorsal fin spines are long and extended, drooping over the fish's forehead to form a "cowlick". As the fish mature , the elongated rays are lost.

Adult fish have a dark greenish-brown body with an elongated white spot on each scale. Their head is a gray-blue with brown lines radiated from their eyes. There are two black spots in front of the dorsal fin and a wide vertical white bar on base of the caudal fin. The posterior part of their caudal fin and pelvic fins are black. Juveniles found in Hawaii are usually green and those in the western Pacific are burgundy to brownish. Both are spotted in white.

Rockmover wrasses are 27-30 cm (10.6-12 in) in length .


Adult fish live on shallow semi-exposed reef flats and in lagoons and seaward reefs to depths of 14-25 m (46-82 ft ). They prefer hard-bottomed grassy areas of mixed sand and rubble where there is exposure to a mild surge. Juveniles favor shallow areas on rubble among large patch reefs or protected open patches on reef crests .

Typically found in water with a depth of 0 to -5,227 meters (0 to -17,149 feet).[7]

Ecology: This species is found in sandy and rubble areas among coral reefs, including semi-exposed reef flats , lagoons and seaward reefs. It often occurs over areas of mixed sand and rubble subject to mild surge (Myers 1991). Juveniles are found over shallow rubble amongst large bommies or protected open patches on reef crests . Larger adults are often found in pairs over rubble areas, where they move pieces of coral debris with their mouths to search for food.

This species feeds on zoobenthos , including molluscs , echinoderms , polychaetes and crabs (Fischer et al. 1990). The juveniles, which imitate floating leaves or algal fronds, are quite different in their form and colour pattern to the adults, which are highly territorial (Westneat 2001).[8].

List of Habitats :


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Rockmover wrasses are opportunistic , feeding on a wide variety of bottom dwelling animals usually hidden under rocks, such as worms, snails, crabs, and brittle stars. Both juvenile and adult rockmover wrasses overturn rocks and rubble to expose target prey , a behavior that is the source of their common name .


Although little is known about reproduction of these fish, it is believed that, like other wrasses , they probably are able to change sex and are pelagic spawners, broadcasting eggs and sperm into the water column .


These fish are highly territorial . Large adults , usually in pairs, move over “their” large section of a reef. One fish turns or shifts large pieces of debris or rubble grabbing or pulling it with its mouth or pushing it with its snout. When the working member of the pair has revealed the prey , the other fish quickly grabs and eats it. Juveniles do not usually work in pairs, doing all the work themselves.

Facing danger, these wrasses quickly dive into the sand for protection. Juveniles resemble algae and mimic the movements of detached, drifting seaweed by swaying back and forth in the currents .

apanese researchers observed rockmover wrasses using coral fragments for mound construction. The wrasses heaped 4-70 pieces of fragments on each sand mount, diving into the mount just before sunset. It appeared that they returned to their own mount repeatedly.


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Hemipteronotus taeniourusHemipteronotus taeniourus (Lacepède • Hemipteronotus taeniurusHemipteronotus taeniurus (Lacepède • Julis biferJulis bifer Lay & Bennett • Labrus taenioursLabrus taeniours Lacepède • Labrus taeniourusLabrus taeniourus Lac pède • Labrus taeniourus Lacepède • Labrus taeniourus Lacépède, 1801 • Novaculichthys biferNovaculichthys bifer (Lay & Bennett • Novaculichthys taeniorusNovaculichthys taeniorus (Lacepède • Novaculichthys taeniorus (Lacepède, 1801) • Novaculichthys taeniorus< /i> (Lacpède • Novaculichthys taeniorus< /i> (Lacepède • Novaculichthys taeniourusNovaculichthys taeniourus (Lacepède, 1801) • Novaculichthys taeniourus< /i> (Lacpède • Novaculichthys taeniourus< /i> (Lacepède • Novaculichthys taeniurusNovaculichthys taeniurus (Lacepède • Novaculichthys taeniurus (Lacepède, 1801) • Novaculichthys taeniurus< /i> (Lacpède • Novaculichthys taeniurus< /i> (Lacepède • Novaculichtys taeniorusNovaculichtys taeniorus (Lacepède • Novaculichtys taeniorus (Lacepède, 1801) • Novaculichtys taeniorus< /i> (Lacepède • Noviculichthys taeniourusNoviculichthys taeniourus (Lacépède, 1801) • Noviculichthys taeniourus< /i> (Lacpède • Xyrichthys taeniourisXyrichthys taeniouris (Lacepède


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 24-May-1995

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Novaculichthys

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 4 species and subspecies in this genus:

N. bifer (Olive-Scribbled Wrasse) · N. macrolepidotus (Green-Banner Wrasse) · N. taeniourus (Olive-Scribbled Wrasse) · N. taeniurus (Olive-Scribbled Wrasse)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal March 02, 2008:



  1. Myers, R.F. (1991). Micronesian reef fishes. Second Ed. Coral Graphics, Barrigada, Guam. 298 p. [back]
  2. Kuiter, R. H. and Tonozuka (2001). Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 2. Fusiliers - Dragonets, Caesionidar - Callionymidae. Zoonetics, Australia. 304-622 p. [back]
  3. Westneat, M.W. (2001). Labridae. Wrasses, hogfishes, razorfishes, corises, tuskfishes. p. 3381-3467. In K.E. Carpenter and V. Niem (eds.) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific ... [back]
  4. Fischer, W., I. Sousa, C. Silva, A. de Freitas, J.M. Poutiers, W. Schneider, T.C. Borges, J.P. Feral and A. Massinga (1990). Fichas FAO de identificaçao de espécies para actividades de pesca. Guia de campo das espécies comerciais marinhas e de águas salob ... [back]
  5. Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen and R.C. Steene (1990). Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 506 p. [back]
  6. Gomon, M.F. (1995). Labridae. Viejas, doncellasas, señoritas. p. 1201-1225. In W. Fischer, F. Krupp, W. Schneider, C. Sommer, K.E. Carpenter and V. Niem (eds.) Guia FAO para Identification de Especies para lo Fines de la Pesca. Pacifico Centro-Orienta ... [back]
  7. Mean = -1,908.290 meters (-6,260.794 feet), Standard Deviation = 1,842.230 based on 55 observations. Ocean depth information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
  8. Pollard, D., Yeeting, B. & Liu, M. 2010. Novaculichthys taeniourus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on 02 February 2012. [back]
Last Revised: 2015-02-06