Knife Wrasse (species: Cymolutes praetextatus) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Cymolutes praetextatus
Knife Wrasse

©Lyle Vail: Cymolutes praetextatus about 10 cm long in the Lizard Island lagoon.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Labridae
Genus Cymolutes
Species Cymolutes praetextatus



Distinguishing features

Steep head profile; pale with faint bars on sides and a white stripe running along back above a broad, darker stripe (which may be yellow or absent according to Allen et al, 2003); dives into sand when disturbed.


  • Up to 20 cm (length according to Allen et al, 2003)

Depth range

  • From 1 m to 10 m



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Web resources


  • Caley, M.J. (1991). Mechanisms of coexistence in communities of coral-reef fishes, Ph.D. thesis, University of Sydney. LIRS catalog number 307.
  • Caley, M.J. (1995). Reef fish community structure and dynamics: in interaction between local and larger-scale processes? Marine Ecology Progress Series, 129: 19-29. LIRS catalog number 448.
  • Caley, M.J. and J. St John (1996). Refuge availability structures assemblages of tropical reef fishes, Journal of Animal Ecology, 65: 414-428. LIRS catalog number 458.