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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes > Family Labridae
Diamond tuskfish
Halichoeres nigrescens
Family Labridae
updated Sep 2020

Where seen? This rather fat and colourful but little wrasse is sometimes seen on our Northern shores, among coral rubble near seagrasses. Sometimes seen high and dry on sand or stuck inside coral rubble or sponges. Some seen were very pale, others were more brightly coloured. It was previously known as Halichoeres dussumieri.

Features: To about 16cm, but those seen are usually about 5-8cm long. Usually colourful: silvery to greenish with red, yellow and blue markings forming 4-5 broad bars across the body. Dark spot in the middle of the front half of the dorsal fin, another spot at the pectoral fin base. Snout pointed, sharp teeth.

This fish has sharp teeth!

Chek Jawa, Aug 05

Tanah Merah, Apr 12
Stuck inside a sponge but still alive.
Chek Jawa, Jun 05

Nasty bite! This little fish can give a nasty bite to a naked hand or finger. It is often seen stranded at low tide and our natural instinct is to pick it up and put into a nearby pool of water. This is when the fish can give a painful nip and take out a chunk of your finger or hand! If you really want to transfer it to a pool of water, do not use bare hands. Or you can just leave it alone, the fish is likely to be able to survive until the tide returns.

Diamond tuskfishes on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Changi-Loyang, Jul 20
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Beting Bronok, Jul 07
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

East Coast Park-Marina East, May 22
Photo shared by Richard Kuah on facebook.

East Coast PCN, Aug 22
Photo shared by Kelvin Yong on facebook.

East Coast Park, Jul 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Tekukor, Mar 22
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

St. John's Island, Jan 06
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her flickr.

Lazarus Island, Nov 14
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

St. John's Island, Apr 22
Photo shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

Caught by a Carpet eel-blenny.
Cyrene Reef, Jun 16

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Pulau Semakau (West), Jan 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

Terumbu Bemban, Jun 14
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

Pulau Biola, May 10
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
  • Lieske, Ewald and Robert Myers. 2001. Coral Reef Fishes of the World Periplus Editions. 400pp.
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