The slippery dick is a species of wrasse native to shallow, tropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean.
The slippery dick wrasse is a small fish that can reach a maximum length of 35 cm. It has a thin, elongate body with a terminal mouth, and its body coloration has three phases during its life:
The terminal phase is when the fish becomes a male, so the body coloration turns to green with two longitudinal dark stripes. The head and tail are covered with pink lines; it has a small black dot up to the pectoral fin.
The initial phase is when the juvenile becomes a female. The background body coloration is mainly whitish with pink shade, and the sides have two dark longitudinal stripes. The median one is usually black extending from the snout and via the eye to the base of the tail. The second one is a paler lateral stripe further below. The upper stripe incorporates a bicolored (green and yellow turning later to black) spot where it crosses the edge of the gills (this is present in all phases). Intermediates vary greatly, from shades of light purple to dark brown. Juveniles are usually white and have two dark stripes, but the lower (abdominal) stripe may be faint.
The juvenile phase. The body is usually whitish, still with the two longitudinal stripes and the spot up to the pectoral fin, as in the initial phase.