Fun Slippery Dick Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Slippery Dick Facts For Kids

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Most of our oceans still remain a mystery to us. We are often startled to learn about some of the species that are closer to us than we may have thought. One such interesting fish species is the slippery dick (Halichoeres bivittatus), or the slippery dick wrasse that lives in the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. This is a tropical fish that resides in shallow water, mainly in rocky coral reefs, and is sometimes also found in seagrass habitats. It is a comparatively small fish which is known for the two mid-body stripes that change color as the juveniles turn into adults. The color variance can be anywhere from dark purple to almost black. If we have to note the most interesting thing about this species, it has to be the changing sex of this wrasses. The hermaphroditic nature of this fish means that it is born as females and then turns into males. This tropical fish has become a well-known aquarium pet for many. It has a stable population in the western Atlantic Ocean waters and the reef. Want to know more slippery dick facts? Keep on read. ing to learn about them!

Also, check out the articles on walleye fish and Atlantic cod to know about animals inhabiting the world of waters.

Fun Slippery Dick Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Crabs, sea urchins, polychaetes, slugs, snails, ophiuroids, other fishes

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

Up to 5.1 oz (146 g)

How long are they?

4.7-9 in (12-23 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Dark mid body stripe with yellow, pink, or green marks

Skin Type

Slimy scales

What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Sea Grass Beds, Shallow Reefs


Western Atlantic Ocean









Slippery Dick Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Slippery Dick?

The Slippery Dick is a type of small fish belonging from the wrasses group.

What class of animal does a Slippery Dick belong to?

The Slippery Dick belongs to the class Actinopterygii and to the genus Halichoeres.

How many Slippery Dicks are there in the world?

As an abundant fish species in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, it is quite hard to put an exact number for the total population of Slippery Dick wrasses.

Where does a Slippery Dick live?

The Slippery Dick is a fish that is found in the tropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. The fish is especially found in the Caribbean area.

What is a Slippery Dick's habitat?

The Slippery Dick is especially found in the rocky Caribbean or other coral reefs, which helps it to hide from predators. It can also be found in areas of seagrass covers. The reef makes the best habitat for the fish to thrive as it is full of food. Slippery Dick lives at shallow depth, with the maximum water depth being 3.3-49.2 ft (1-15 m).

Who does a Slippery Dick live with?

The Slippery Dick lives in small groups in the tropical waters, and this wrasse also provides cleaning facilities to other fish species. Hence, we can say that the Slippery Dick has great cohabiting skills.

How long does a Slippery Dick live?

The average length of the Slippery Dick lifespan is 3-5 years; however, more studies need to be done to measure the exact length in wild species as well as in the fishes that are raised in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

One of the most interesting things about the slippery dick (Halichoeres bivittatus) has to be its reproduction and sexual change. It is a protogynous hermaphrodite species, so the juvenile fry are born as females and later turn into males. When the spawning season starts, the male fishes gather in groups and try to show its sexual prowess. Not much is known about the number of eggs laid by the females, but the eggs are fertilized outside its body. The eggs are left on its own and hatch in about 23 hours.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the Slippery Dick is classified under the status of Least Concern.

Slippery Dick Fun Facts

What does a Slippery Dick look like?

Slippery Dick in water

The Slippery Dick (Halichoeres bivittatus) looks quite simple when you lay your eyes on it. However, the shiny small fish has a story to tell. In the juvenile phase, the fish has a light white body with a spot on the pectoral fin and two dark stripes on its body. In the intermediate stage, the two mid-body stripes get darker, and the top strip is often green with yellow, while the lateral stripe is fainter. In the third stage, the fish becomes males, and the dark stripes take a more green appearance which may also seem dark purple or black. The second lateral stripe present below the top dark stripe is often light or pale. Its pectoral fin still has the black dot. In all phases, the stripes extend from the eyes to the tail fin. The tail fin of this fish is quite delicate. Prominent protruding teeth are present in the front.

How cute are they?

Even though these fishes aren't quite cute, this depends on your perspective. Many people find the fish adorable because of its dark stripes and shiny body.

How do they communicate?

Most wrasses depend on visual communication to contact fishes from their own species or with other animal species surrounding them. Another interesting communication shown by this species is that it cleans the bodies of other fishes. Mainly the juvenile fishes take part in cleaning other fishes present in their native reef.

How big is a Slippery Dick?

The usual length of the Slippery Dick wrasse is 4.7-9 in (12-23 cm). The length of Slippery Dick is quite similar to that of the Mediterranean rainbow wrasses, a species with an average body length of 7.1-9.8 in (18-25 cm).

How fast can a Slippery Dick swim?

Not much is know about the swimming speed of the Slippery Dick that lives in shallow marine waters.

How much does a Slippery Dick weigh?

Though a lot isn't known about the exact weight of this small and slender fish, the approximate weight can be up to 5.1 oz (146 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for the male and female of the species. However, the interesting thing about a Slippery Dick Wrasse is that it is born with its female phase. The fish can later turn into males depending on the reproductive need. This unique phenomenon is known as protogynous hermaphroditism. Sexual dimorphism is partially seen in this fish species, where more distinct and brighter color patterns are seen in terminal males.

What would you call a baby Slippery Dick?

A baby Slippery Dick (Halichoeres bivittatus) fish is called a fry.

What do they eat?

The Slippery Dick wrasse is carnivorous in nature, and the fish is known to be quite an aggressive predator when it comes to hunting in the marine environment. Its diet mainly consists of benthic organisms, including crabs, polychaetes, sea urchins, slugs, snails, ophiuroids, and small fishes. The fish likes to create disturbances in the bottom of its habitat to gather swarms of its prey before eating. The slippery dick wrasse also follows benthic fishes like a goatfish in search of invertebrates. The protruding front teeth of the fish help it to break through the shells of crabs.

Are they poisonous?

No, this isn't a poisonous fish.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, the Slippery Dick fish is a common aquarium fish for many people.

Did you know...

The Slippery Dick isn't a dangerous fish, and it wouldn't bite human beings without perceiving any threat.

How did the Slippery Dick fish get its name?

The interesting name of the fish comes from its ability to slip from fishing nets because of its slender body and slippery skin. In Spanish, this tropical fish is also known as Doncella rayada.

Do humans eat them?

No, the Slippery Dick fish isn't usually eaten by a human. In the Bermuda Islands, there is an interesting superstition related to fish, where people believe that eating it will lead to instant hair fall and the inability to grow further hair.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish, including milkfish facts and Baiji fish facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our slippery dick coloring pages.

Thank you to Kidadler Vicky Winex for providing the image of a Slippery Dick fish in this article.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

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