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Updated 11/22/2013

Family Labridae


Novaculichthys taeniourus

Juvenile, Kahalu'u, Hawaii, 5 feet

Juvenile, Kea'au, Oahu, 50 feet

Hanauma Bay, Oahu, 5 feet


Adults are uncommon in shallow water where it turns rocks or rubble in search of mobile invertebrates.  Ornate brown or green juveniles move like a piece of drifting seaweed, diving under sand when threatened.  Attains 12 inches.  Occurs in Hawai‘i, the Indo-Pacific, and Tropical Eastern Pacific.  Formerly known as Hemipteronotus taeniourus, juveniles as Novaculichthys bifer.

Video of bright green juvenile at Po'ipu, Kauai by Erik Burton

Video of juveniles from Maui by Mike Ploessel