Coris julis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Labridae

Scientific Name: Coris julis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Mediterranean Rainbow Wrasse, African rainbow wrasse, Mediterranean rainbowfish, Rainbow wrasse, Wrasse
French Girelle
Spanish Doncella, Julia, Xulia
Coris festiva (Valenciennes, 1839)
Coris speciosa (Risso, 1827)
Coris taeniatus Steindachner, 1863
Julis azorensis Fowler, 1919
Julis festiva Valenciennes, 1839
Julis julis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Julis mediterranea Risso, 1827
Julis melanura Lowe, 1839
Julis speciosa Risso, 1827
Julis vulgaris Fleming, 1828
Labrus giofredi Risso, 1810
Labrus julis Linnaeus, 1758
Labrus paroticus Linnaeus, 1758
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2014. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 27 August 2014. Available at: (Accessed: 27 August 2014).
Taxonomic Notes: Coris julis has sometimes been confused with C. atlantica, which occurs further south along the West African coastline (D. Pollard pers. comm.. 2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-02-11
Assessor(s): Pollard, D. & Afonso, P.
Reviewer(s): Russell, B. & Carpenter, K.E.
This species is widespread and common in the Mediterranean Sea, where its population is showing signs of increasing in the Gulf of Lion (France). It is also present off the eastern Atlantic coastlines of Europe and West Africa (at least as far south as Senegal, southwards of which it is replaced by a separate species, C. atlantica), and there are few major threats to its populations. Therefore, this species is listed as Least Concern globally.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:In the Eastern Atlantic, this species has a possibly disjunct northern European distribution from central Norway to Spain and Portugal, and thence occurs southwards along the West African coastline to around Senegal. It is not present around the United Kingdom or Ireland. It is also reported from the Azores, Selvagens, Madeira and the Canary Islands. Specimens from the Cape Verde Islands and Sao Tome Principe, and along the mainland coastline from around Senegal southwards to Gabon, belong to the closely related species Coris atlantica (Randall 1999, Guillemaud et al. 2000).

This species is present along most of the Mediterranean coastline, including around most of the main Mediterranean islands. In the eastern Mediterranean basin, however, this species is rare, being absent from Cyprus and Israel, though one location is known from Lebanon. It is present in the Sea of Marmara and the far western part of the Black Sea (in Turkey and Bulgaria).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Denmark; Egypt; France; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Guernsey; Israel; Italy; Jersey; Lebanon; Libya; Malta; Mauritania; Monaco; Montenegro; Morocco; Netherlands; Norway; Portugal; Romania; Senegal; Slovenia; Spain; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey; United Kingdom; Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – eastern central; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):120
Upper depth limit (metres):1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Populations of this species are apparently increasing in the Gulf of Lion (France, north-western Mediterranean Sea). This may be explained by water temperatures having increased there due to the construction of numerous dams on the Rhone River, which have reduced cold water inflow, though climate change may also be playing a part. Another hypothesis which has been offered to help explain these population increases could possibly be the installation of artificial reefs, providing an increase in suitable reef habitat.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This common species generally occurs in littoral and inshore coastal waters around rocks and over seagrass beds. During the winter it can be found in deeper waters. It is typically found in aggregations but can also be found as solitary individuals, especially in rocky habitats. During the night, or when disturbed, it can bury itself in the sand. The eggs and larvae are planktonic (Golani et al. 2006).

It feeds on small gastropods, sea urchins, worms, shrimps, isopods and amphipods. Small individuals are known to clean other fishes.

It reaches sexual maturity at one year and is a protogynous hermaphrodite with pronounced sexual dimorphism (Golani et al. 2006). The females change to males before reaching 18 cm in length. All individuals above 18 cm in length are males (Muus and Nielsen 1999). Sex change can take from several weeks up to 5.5 months (Sadovy and Shapiro 1987, Reinboth 1962, Muus and Nielsen 1999).

It reproduces from May to August. Larger terminal phase males hold territories and spawn sequentially with haremic females, smaller terminal phase males can live in groups up to several tens of individuals. Initial phase males live and spawn in large groups, pelagic spawning and eggs (P. Afonso pers. comm. 2008).

Mediterranean and Atlantic populations show strong morphological and genetic differentiation (Aurelle et al. 2003).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is occasionally used for food, and also as an aquarium display species. It is taken in local fisheries off the African coast, mainly by hook and line but occasionally also in trawls and by spearfishing.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In some areas of the Mediterranean this species is caught in commercial fisheries. Many specimens are also captured for the local aquarium trade. In the Macaronesian islands it is caught in the small-scale, artisanal fishery (P. Afonso pers. comm. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species specific conservation measures in place for this species. However, it can be found within Marine Protected Areas within its distributional range.

Citation: Pollard, D. & Afonso, P. 2010. Coris julis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187752A8621739. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided