Juvenile Castelnau's Wrasse and females are green to pale red. Males can be reddish-brown, orange, yellowish, green or pale with four broken black bars. The species is an Australian endemic, occurring from southern Victoria to south-western Western Australia, plus the east coast of Tasmania.
Castelnau's Wrasse can be recognised by its colouration. Juveniles and females are green to pale red with five irregular dark bars on the body and an ocellus at the rear of the dorsal and anal fins. Males can be reddish-brown, orange, yellowish, green or pale with four broken black bars on the body and black lines around the eyes. The margins of the caudal, dorsal and anal fins are black.
Two species of Dotalabrus are known from Australian waters. The second is the Little Rainbow Wrasse (sometimes called Allen's Polly), D.alleni, which is found in shallow marine waters of south-western Western Australia.
Castelnau's Wrasse occurs in seagrass beds and weedy areas on rocky reefs.
It occurs from southern Victoria to south-western Western Australia, plus the east coast of Tasmania.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Other behaviours and adaptations
It swims by bobbing up and down at an oblique angle, with the head up and tail down.
- Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
- Gomon, M.F. & B.C. Russell. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.