Fairy and Flasher Wrasse are often overlooked by divers as they are generally fairly small, only up to some 12 cm, and without artificial light, look quite dull. They are not only difficult to photograph as they move very quickly and erratically, but a challenge to identify.
They are a story subject as they illustrate just how diverse even individuals can be.
They tend to live in family groups, often mixed with other species. Juveniles, sub-adult males, sub-adult females, adult males and adult females can all look quite different.
Like most wrasse, they are sexually flexible, changing sex with age and circumstance. Cirrhilabrus species also hybridise. In mixed species groups, it is not easy to tell which individuals belong to which species.
The spectacular displays of the males serve both to establish an individuals position in the wrasse society, but also to win a female. The displays are a combination of underwater acrobatics and colour change. Colour change is achieved either literally as in Cirrhilabrus lubbocki
or through the sudden spreading of their fins, i.e. flashing.