The slippery dick has three color phases. Adults have two dark lateral stripes, one running from snout through eye to caudal base and the other, less pronounced, on the lower side of body. A small bicolored spot at edge of gill cover within upper dark stripe (all phases). Dark triangular corners on tail. Irregular light red bands on head and on caudal fin. Shades of green. Intermediates: Color 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 slippery dick reaches about 30 centimetres (12 in) TL.
The slippery dick is generally found in shallow reefs, and grass beds. Also can be found at the Jetty In Ponce Inlet Florida.
This species feeds on benthic invertebrates, including crabs, sea urchins and ophiuroids, polychaetes, and gastropods. It is a protogynous hermaphrodite. These fish form leks while breeding. In North Carolina, males defend temporary territories with peak spawning in May and June. Pair spawning typically occurs between females and terminal phase males; initial phase males occasionally try to insert themselves into the spawning event. Slippery dick is found in fairly large sizes (3-6") and after a relatively short period in the plankton. Peak recruitment occurred during the new moon and the highest amplitude tide.
- Species List for the Dominant Fishes at Gray's Reef
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Halichoeres bivittatus" in FishBase. May 2007 version.
- Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Bocas del Toro Species Database
- [dead link]