Gomphosus varius   Lacepede,  1801 (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Randall, J.E.

Size: 22-30 cm.

Color: In preserved specimens reddish brown or dark violet, lighter below, on throat and breast and sometimes also on belly. Scales of body with more or less distinct black spots or vertical stripes. A more or less distinct blackish band from upper part of snout through eye to hind border of preopercle. Two rows of brown spots, bordering this band behind eye and continued to hind border of opercle generally present. A small black blotch in axil of pectoral. Dorsal lighter or deeper brown, a large black blotch between first to fourth dorsal spines often present, specially in young specimens. A narrow marginal white band on dorsal, more developed on soft than on spinous part. Anal grayish or violet, somewhat darker at base and with a black submarginal longitudinal band, following by a very narrow white band, more developed on tip of rays than on the membranes between them. Caudal dusky or dark brown, deepening into black distally and followed by a white marginal band, which is broadest in the middle and almost disappears on the upper and lower tip, where the rays are black from base to top. Pectorals hyaline or somewhat dusky. Ventrals hyaline, the outer border brown.

Height 3.5-4.2, 4-4.8 in length with caudal. Head 2.3-2.7, 2.7-3.2 in length with caudal. Eye 6-9, according to age, 4.6-4.9 in snout in adults and 2.7-3.3 in young ones, where the snout is comparatively much shorter. Eye about equal to or somewhat less than slightly convex inter orbital space. Mouth not reaching half way snout. Conical juxtaposed, more or less hooked teeth in a single series in the jaws. Two hooked canines anteriorly in upper jaw. front teeth of lower jaw somewhat longer than the others and directed forwards. Eight scales before dorsal. Dorsal spines slightly increasing in length posteriorly, the first less than eye, the last about equal to eye. soft dorsal much higher than spinous part, somewhat rounded above, the median rays being the longest, and equal to post orbital part of head (without opercular flap). Dorsal pointed behind. anal beginning below anterior soft rays of dorsal. First anal spine minute and hidden or completely absent. Second spine not much shorter than third, which is somewhat longer than eye. Soft anal similar to soft dorsal, but not as deep. Pectorals slightly rounded behind, as long as head without snout. Ventrals pointed, about equal to post orbital part of head. Caudal rounded in young, almost truncate in adults, where only the outer rays are slightly longer. Identified by long snout when adult and distinguished by color or geography from its sibling Gomphosus caeruleus. Small juveniles lack the elongate snout. Dorsal spines (total): 8; Dorsal soft rays (total): 13; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 11.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Gomphosus caeruleus (non Lacepede, 1801)
(Misapplied name)
Gomphosus tricolor Quoy & Gaimard, 1824
(Junior synonym)
Gomphosus pectoralis Quoy and Gaimard, 1824
Gomphosus fuscus Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1839
Gomphosus melanotus Bleeker, 1855
Gomphosus fuscus Brevoort, 1856
Gomphosus notostigma Bleeker, 1862
Gomphosus varius Gunther, 1866
Gomphosus melanotus Gunther, 1862
Gomphosus melanotus Day, 1870
Gomphosus melanotus Klunzinger, 1871
Gomphosus pectoralis Day, 1877
Gomphosus undulatus Streets, 1877
Gomphosus varius Steindachner and Denkschr, 1900
Gomphosus pectoralis Seale, 1901
Gomphosus varius Jordan and Snyder, 1902
Gomphosus varius Jenkins, 1904
Gomphosus varius Jordan and Evermann, 1905
Gomphosus varius Jordan and Seale, 1906
Gomphosus varius Gunther, 1909
Gomphosus varius Barnard, 1927
Gomphosus varius Fowler, 1928
Gomphosus varius Fowler and Bean, 1928
Gomphosus varius P. J. Schmidt, 1930
Gomphosus varius Fowler, 1936
Gomphosus varius Lacepede, 1802
Gomphosus pectoralis Day, 1878
Gomphorus varius Lacepede, 1801

Common Name (s)
• Bird Wrasse (English)
• Hibbaruhikkae (Mahl)
• Chulam (Malayalam)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Aquarium, fisheries, Ornamental fish)

Habitat:  Reef Associated
Trophic Level:  Secondary Consumer
Prey:  Benthic crustaceans, small fishes, brittle stars, and mollusks


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands (Lat: 12.5) (Long: 92.75) INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti Atoll (Lat: 10.55) (Long: 72.63) INDIA (Record: 01/1991-06/1992)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andamans INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Amini INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Chettalatt INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kilttan INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA
• Red Sea
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Amini Island (Lat: 11.08) (Long: 72.75) INDIA (Record: 03/1954)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Bangaram INDIA (Record: 09/02/1987-25/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Kilttan INDIA (Record: 05/01/1987-06/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA (Record: 09/02/1987-25/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep Islands INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)

Literature Source(s)
  • Wafar, MVM (2003) Checklists of reef fauna Available at - http://www.reefindia.org/
  • James, C; O'Farrell, S; Hamylton, S; Ingwersen, C and Walker, R The coral reef resources of Mu Ko Surin national park, Thailand Coral Cay Conservation Available at - www.coralcay.org
  • Allen, GR and Mohammed, A (2003) Coral Reef Fishes of Indonesia Zoological Studies 42(1) 26299 Available at - Digital Information Resource Center, Pune.
  • Rodney, J (1985) Population fluctuations in some ornamental fishes and invertebrates off Sri Lanka Proceedings of the symposium on endangered marine animals and marine parks Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 1 355-366 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • 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
  • Anand, PEV and Pillai, NGK (2003) Habitat distribution and species diversity of coral reef fishes in the reefslope of the Kavaratti atoll, Lakshadweep, India Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 45(1) 88-98 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • 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
  • 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
  • Balan, V (1958) Notes on a visit to certain islands of the Laccadive Archipelago, with special reference to fisheries Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society Bombay Natural History Society 55 (2) 297-306 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/6009/1/1.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
  • Kumaran, M; Murty, VS and Lalmohan, RS (1989) Resources of ornamental fishes Marine living resources of the union territory of Lakshadweep: An indicative survey with suggestions for development Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI 43 46-64 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/8213/1/Bulletin_No_43.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 (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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