Epibulus insidiator   (Pallas,  1770) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: John E. Randall

Size: 54 cm.

Color: Color varies with age and sex, but adult color varies additional, including with an all-yellow xanthic form. Sub adults and females are brown or, not uncommonly, uniformly yellow. Terminal males are dark with a white head and a dark streak extending horizontally through the eye. Male becomes ornamented with orange and yellow over the back. Juveniles dark with fine vertical white lines. Intermediates with yellow blotches, pale tail and sometimes with black pectoral fins.

The mouth of this species is protrusible and unfolds into a tube easily half the body length. The jaws swing forward into a long tube that strong suction to catch prey. When not in use, the entire apparatus is conveniently folded under the head. Small juveniles are brown with thin white bars and closely resemble a species of Wetmorella. Height 2-2.2, 2.8-3 in length with caudal. Head 2.5-2.9, 3.4-4 in length with caudal. Eye 6, 2-2.1 in snout and 1.4 in inter-orbital space. Mouth oblique, moderate and extremely protractile. Teeth conical, rather large, in one more or less regular series in both jaws. Two distant canines in front part of each jaw, those of the upper jaw directed forwards, those of the lower jaw obliquely upwards. Preopercle totally covered by two transverse rows of scales, the lower of which consists of a few very large scales. Profile of head very much curved behind eye. Scales beginning above eye. Eight scales before dorsal. Dorsal spine short and thick, sub equal in length and somewhat longer than eye. Their membranes thick, not incised. Soft dorsal rays increasing in length to about the 6th or 7th, which are equal to post orbital part of head. Posterior rays shorter, the fin therefore pointed. Anal spines short but stout, the first shortest, the third longest and equal to twice diameter of eye. Soft anal rays rapidly increasing in length to the 5th or 6th, which is almost as long as head, posterior rays rapidly decreasing in length again, the fin therefore much pointed. Pectorals somewhat rounded, as long as head without snout or somewhat shorter. Ventrals with the second ray produced, much pointed, shorter or longer than head. Caudal truncate, but the outer rays much produced and curved.

Protogynous, external fertilization, oviparous.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Sparus insidiator Pallas, 1770
Sparus insidiator Bloch and Schneider, 1801
Sparus insidiator Lacepede, 1802
Epibulus insidiator Cuvier, 1817
Epibulus insidiator Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1839
Epibulus insidiator Bleeker, 1862
Epibulus insidiator Gunther, 1862
Epibulus insidiator Kner, 1867
Epibulus insidiator Gunther, 1866
Epibulus insidiator Day, 1877
Epibulus insidiator Gunther, 1881
Epibulus insidiator Jordan and Seale, 1906
Epibulus insidiator Snyder, 1912
Epibulus insidiator P. J. Schmidt, 1930
Epibulus insidiator Herre, 1936
Epibulus insidiator Fowler, 1938
Epibulus insidiator de Beaufort, 1940
Epibulus striatus Day, 1878
Epibulis insidiator (Pallas, 1770)

Common Name (s)
• Sling Jaw Wrasse (English)
• Sling-Jaw Wrasse (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries, aquarium, Ornamental fish
Reports of ciguatera poisoning)

Habitat:  Reef Associated
Trophic Level:  Secondary Consumer
Prey:  Small coral-dwelling crustaceans and fishes.


• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andamans INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA
• Arabian Sea (Lat: 5) (Long: 71) INDIA (Record: 02/1985-06/1987) (Depth: 997-2837 mts)
• Arabian Sea (Lat: 11) (Long: 77.5) INDIA (Record: 02/1985-06/1987) (Depth: 997-2837 mts)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, North Reef Island INDIA
• Palk Bay INDIA
• Lakshadweep Islands INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)
• Tamil Nadu, Kilakarai INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Ohman, M; Rajasuriya, A and Olafsson, E (1997) Reef fish assemblages in north western Sri Lanka: Distribution patterns and influences of fishing practises Enviornmental Biology of Fishes Kluwer Academic Publishers 49 45-61
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at - http://www.fishbase.org
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at - http://www.marinespecies.org
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at - http://tnenvis.nic.in
  • Beaufort, LF (1940) The fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago A. J. Reprints agency, Karol Bagh, New Delhi 8 508 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1980) Fishes of the Laccadive Archipelago The Nature Conservation and Aquatic Sciences Service, Trivandrum, Kerala 760 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 2 Available at - http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/ad468e/ad468e00.HTM#Contents
  • Balachandran, K and Nizar, MA (1990) A check list of fishes of the Exclusive Economic Zone of India collected during the research cruises of FORV Sagar Sampada Proceedings of the first workshop on scientific results of FORV Sagar Sampada CMFRI, Cochin 305-324 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/5269/1/43.pdf
  • Rao, GC; Rao, DV and Devi, K (1994) A faunal exploration of the North Reef Island sanctuary, North Andaman Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 10(1&2) 68-81 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Jones, S. (1969) Catalogue of fishes from the Laccadive Archipelago in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 8 1-35 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/569/1/Bulletin_8.pdf
  • Murty, VS (1996) Marine ornamental fishes of India Proceedings of the Seminar on Fisheries - A Multibillion Dollar Industry, Madras CMFRI 23-34 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/7786/1/678-Mur.pdf
  • Murty, VS (2002) Marine ornamental fish resources of Lakshadweep CMFRI Special Publication CMFRI 72 1-134 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/3536/1/Special_Publication_No_72.pdf
  • Murty, VS (1969) Catalogue of fishes (excluding from the Laccadives) in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 10 1-38 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/571/1/Bulletin_10.pdf
  • Murty, VS (2001) Ornamental fish resources of Lakshadweep Bulletins of the Geological Survey of India 56 103-111 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/8574/1/Murty.pdf

Page last updated on:2011-06-28

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