Spotty (Notolabrus celidotus)

Last Modified: 19-1-2023 22:51

© Christopher Cookson  License this image

Spotties or pakirikiri (Notolabrus celidotus) are a species of wrasse that are common throughout New Zealand waters, particularly around rocky reefs. They are aggressive feeders, territorial, and will eat almost anything.

In Marlborough, they are found throughout the Marlborough Sounds and further south around rocky reefs such as at Whites Bay.

Spotties are closely related to purple wrasse (N. fucioloa) which can be found in similar sizes but can grow considerably larger than spotties that reach a maximum size of around 26cm, and also lack the distinctive black dorsal spots of female spotties. (Male spotties have smaller spots.) The two species have been known to interbreed on occasion.

Spotties begin life as females and change into males as they age.

They are easily caught with almost any kind of bait, and are often children’s first experience of catching a fish, often off jetties and wharves.

Spotties are edible, but since they are generally small apart from older males, they are more often used as bait fish.

This specimen was observed at Whites Bay.

Image Date: 26/12/2022

Photographer: Christopher Cookson

Location: Latitude: -41.388275 Longitude: 174.056473

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