Zigzag wrasse
  • Halichoeres scapularis
  • EnglishName: Zigzag wrasse
  • Local Name : Dhon hikaa
  • Size : Max. 20 cm
  • Family: LABRIDAE
  • Order : Perciformes
  • Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 11 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 11 rays. Pectoral fin with 14 rays. Body depth about 3.5 in standard length. Pectoral fin shorter than pelvic fin.
  • Colour: Initial-phase adults with a dark brown stripe from eye along upper side (where often zigzag) to upper caudal base; body above stripe greenish, below white. Terminal males retain the zigzag stripe on body, though broader and suffused with pink; ground colour green with blue edged pale pink spots following scale rows on sides; head green with irregular blue edged pink bands and spots.
  • Habitat and Biology: Usually found in shallow lagoons or bays, associated more with sand, rubble, or seagrass bottoms to depths of 12 m. Feeds on sand-dwelling animals.
  • Distribution: Indo-West Pacific.
  • Remarks: Halichoeres scapularis is a common wrasse in Maldivian reef flats. It is more often encountered on sand and rubble areas than on rich coral areas.