Slippery dick

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This article is about the fish. For the Peaches song, see Impeach My Bush.
This article is about the fish. For the 37th president of the United States Richard 'Tricky Dick' Nixon, see Slippery dick (disambiguation).
Slippery dick wrasse
Slippery Dick Wrasse - Halichoeres bivittatus.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Labridae
Genus: Halichoeres
Species: H. bivittatus
Binomial name
Halichoeres bivittatus
(Bloch, 1791)
  • Labrus bivittatus Bloch, 1791
  • Labrus psittaculus Lacépède, 1801
  • Labrus multicostatus Gronow, 1854
  • Julis humeralis Poey, 1860
  • Choerojulis grandisquamis T. N. Gill, 1863
  • Choerojulis arangoi Poey, 1876
  • Platyglossus florealis D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1882

The slippery dick wrasse, Halichoeres bivittatus, is a species of wrasse native to shallow, tropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean.


The slipery dick wrasse is a small sized fish that can reach a maximum length of 35 cm.[2] It has a thin, elongate body with a terminal mouth and its body coloration has three phases during is life. 1- The terminal phase is when the fish becomes a male, so the body coloration turns to green with two longitudinal dark stripes, the head and tail are covered with pink lines, it has a small black dot up to the pectoral fin.[3] 2- The initial phase is when the juvenile becomes a female, the background body coloration is mainly whitish with pink shade, the sides have two dark longitudinal stripes. The median one is usually black extending from the snout and via the eye to the base of the tail. The second one, paler lateral stripe further below. The upper stripe incorporates a bicolored (green and yellow turning later to black) spot where it crosses the edge of the gills (this is present in all phases).[2] Intermediates vary greatly, from shades of light purple to dark brown. Juveniles are usually white and have two dark stripes, but the lower (abdominal) stripe may be faint.[4] 3- The juvenile phase, the body is usually whitish still with the two longitudinal stripes and the spot up to the pectoral fin like in the initial phase.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The slippery dick wrasse is widespread trough out the tropical and subtropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. It can be found from North Carolina and Bermuda to Brazil,[2] including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea area.

The slippery dick wrasse is generally reef associated at depths from 1 to 15 m (3.3 to 49.2 ft) but it's not very common in seagrass.[6][7]


This species feeds on benthic invertebrates, including crabs,small fishes, sea urchins and ophiuroids, polychaetes, and gastropods.[7][8]

It is a protogynous hermaphrodite.[2] These fish form leks while breeding.[2] In North Carolina, males defend temporary territories with peak spawning in May and June. Pair spawning typically occurs between females and terminal phase males; initial phase males occasionally try to insert themselves into the spawning event.

Status & threats[edit]

This species is widespread and very common throughout much of its range in the Caribbean and Florida, although it is uncommon in northeastern Brazil. There are no major threats known to this species, and population trends are unknown. It is listed as Least Concern (LC) on the UICN.[9]


  1. ^ Rocha, L., Francini, R. & Craig, M. 2010. Halichoeres bivittatus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. <>. Downloaded on 09 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Halichoeres bivittatus" in FishBase. August 2013 version.
  3. ^ Randall, J.E., 1996. Caribbean reef fishes. Third Edition - revised and enlarged. T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Ltd., Hong Kong. 3nd ed. 368 p.
  4. ^ Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Bocas del Toro Species Database
  5. ^
  6. ^ Lieske, E. and R. Myers, 1994. Collins Pocket Guide. Coral reef fishes. Indo-Pacific & Caribbean including the Red Sea. Haper Collins Publishers, 400 p.
  7. ^ a b Böhlke, J.E. and C.C.G. Chaplin, 1993. Fishes of the Bahamas and adjacent tropical waters. 2nd edition. University of Texas Press, Austin.
  8. ^ Cervigón, F., 1993. Los peces marinos de Venezuela. Volume 2. Fundación Científica Los Roques, Caracas,Venezuela. 497 p.
  9. ^ Rocha, L., Francini, R. & Craig, M. 2010. Halichoeres bivittatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 19 August 2015.

External links[edit]