Halichoeres margaritaceus (Valenciennes, 1839)
Pink-belly wrasse
Halichoeres margaritaceus
photo by Randall, J.E.

 Family:  Labridae (Wrasses), subfamily: Corinae
 Max. size:  12.5 cm SL (male/unsexed)
 Environment:  reef-associated; depth range 0 - 5 m
 Distribution:  Indo-Pacific: Cocos Island in the eastern Indian Ocean to the Line and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan, south to New South Wales and Lord Howe Island. Replaced by Halichoeres nebulosus in the western Indian Ocean.
 Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 9-9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 11-11; Anal spines: 3-3; Anal soft rays: 11-11. Females olivaceous on back, the scale edges dark brown, pale ventrally, with whitish blotches of unequal size and a large pink area posteriorly on the abdomen; a black spot on opercular flap, small one behind eye, one at front of dorsal fin and a large one rimmed in yellow or blue in middle of fin; no black spot at upper base of pectoral fins; males green with orange-red spots, some linked to form irregular markings, the white blotches and large pink area on abdomen lost, and the black spots lost or reduced. Males are distinguished by different cheek patterns. In this species, it has a near horizontal pink band below the eye (Ref. 48636).
 Biology:  Inhabits shallow reefs and rocky shores, usually in weedy areas exposed to surge (Ref. 9710, 48636). Feeds on benthic crustaceans, mollusks, polychaetes, forams, fishes, and fish eggs (Ref. 1602). One of several similar species that have near identical juvenile and female stages (Ref. 48636).
 IUCN Red List Status:   (Ref. 96402)
 Threat to humans:  harmless
 Country info:   

 Entered by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 10.06.92
 Modified by: Bailly, Nicolas - 29.04.09
 Checked by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 05.05.95

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