Banded parrotfish

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Banded parrotfish
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Labridae
Genus: Notolabrus
Species: N. fucicola
Binomial name
Notolabrus fucicola
(J. Richardson, 1840)
  • Labrus fucicola J. Richardson, 1840
  • Labrichthys fucicola (J. Richardson, 1840)
  • Pseudolabrus fucicola (J. Richardson, 1840)
  • Pseudolabrus pittensis Waite, 1910

The banded parrotfish, yellow-saddled wrasse or New Zealand banded wrasse, Notolabrus fucicola, is a species of wrasse native to the eastern Indian Ocean, off eastern Australia and all around New Zealand on rocky, weedy reef areas. Its length is between 30 and 60 cm and large specimens, which might be over 25 years old, weigh almost 5 kg. Aging work in New Zealand suggested these wrasses can live at least 35 years.

This is the largest wrasse in New Zealand waters. It is a moderately deep-bodied fish of variable colouring, young being reddish-brown mottled with green and orange, whilst adults are green-brown tinged with purple with indistinct yellowish vertical bars on the body and fins. They are generalist predators with powerful canine teeth that enable them to remove chitons, limpets, and barnacles from rocks. They can also crush and eat mollusks, crabs, and sea urchins. Size-specific changes in their diets occur: Small fish (100–180 mm) eat mostly amphipods and isopods, whereas larger fish (> 180 mm) eat mainly bivalves, crabs, and gastropods.

Banded parrotfish are asynchronous spawners and follow the typical labrid spring-summer seasonal pattern of reproduction from July to December. Compared with other New Zealand labrids that are protogynous hermaphrodites, this wrasse was found to be a secondary gonochorist, where individuals change sex before maturation. It is a dichromatic species, but not sexually dimorphic. It is also monandric where only one morphological male type is present. Despite finding no transitional gonads, particular environmental or social conditions possibly could induce sex change in at least a small proportion of fishes.

These fish may be caught on a handline and fight well.


  1. ^ Russell, B. & Pollard, D. 2010. Notolabrus fucicola. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. < Archived June 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.>. Downloaded on 13 November 2013.
  • "Notolabrus fucicola". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 11 March 2006. 
  • Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Notolabrus fucicola" in FishBase. August 2013 version.
  • Tony Ayling & Geoffrey Cox, Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand, (William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand 1982) ISBN 0-00-216987-8
  • Chris Denny & David Schiel, Feeding ecology of the banded wrasse Notolabrus fucicola (Labridae) in southern New Zealand: prey items, seasonal differences, and ontogenetic variation, New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 2001, Vol. 35: 925-933
  • Chris Denny & David Schiel, Reproductive biology and population structure of the banded wrasse, Notolabrus fucicola (Labridae) around Kaikoura, New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 2002, Vol. 36: 555-563