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Black and White Wrasse Fish Profile


Scientific Name: Coris flavovittata

Sub-Adult Black and White Wrasse

Photo © Keoki Stender


Scientific Name: Coris flavovittata (Bennett, 1829).

The name Black and White Wrasse describes juveniles, sub-adults and adult females, but not adult males. Having no black and white at all, nor stripes, male Black and White Wrasses look totally different.

View >> Black and White Wrasse Fish Phases of Life Pictures

Other Common Names:

Black and White Striped Wrasse, Black Striped Wrasse, Black and White Coris, Yellowstripe Coris.


Endemic to the Hawaiian Island region, which includes islands such as Midway, and Johnston Atoll.

Average Size:

To 20 inches.

Characteristics and Compatibility:

  • Buries in the sand to sleep at night and for protection when frightened or harassed.
  • Searches for food by turning over pieces of live rock and coral. Large individuals are very adept at this task, and thus can easily move objects around, which may cause aquarium rock formations to become unstable.
  • Typically not aggressive towards other fishes, but larger individuals may harass smaller tankmates. Adults are best kept singly or as a mated pair, otherwise territorial aggression may result.

Diet and Feeding:

  • Carnivore that possesses two prominent teeth in the front of each jaw that are used for feeding on its favorite prey -- snails, hermit crabs, crabs, shrimps, mollusks, and sea urchins. Will eat nuisance bristle worms, but other beneficial worms as well, including decorative tube species.
  • Should be fed a hardy diet of meaty foods that includes fresh or frozen seafoods, live or frozen brine and mysid shrimp, live grass or ghost shrimp, live black worms, and flake food.
  • Recommended Feedings - 3 times a day.


Provide with plenty of swimming room, and a two to four inch bed of soft sand to bury in.

Suggested Minimum Tank Size:

Juveniles and Sub-Adults - 100 gallons
Adults - 150 gallons.

Reef Tank Suitability:

Not recommended.

Common Ailments:

Prone to developing internal bacterial infection associated with the bladder due to poor substrate environment.

Tiny juveniles typically do not fare well in captivity. It is not unusual for them to waste away and starve to death due to the lack of accepting food, and thus not taking in the high caloric diet they require to survive. It is best to obtain a sub-adult specimen of more than two inches in size, and one that is already eating well to help avoid problems with starvation.

Guide Fish Care Rating:

Juveniles - 3 Stars

Sub-Adults and Adults - 2 Stars

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