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Related Articles: Wrasses, Anampses, Hogfishes/Bodianus, Maori Wrasses/Cheilinus & Oxycheilinus, Fairy/Velvet Wrasses/Cirrhilabrus, Coris & Coris gaimard, Bird Wrasses/Gomphosus, Halichoeres, Cleaner Wrasses/Labroides, Tubelip Wrasses/Labropsis, Leopard Wrasses/Macropharyngodon, Pencil Wrasses/Pseudojuloides, RazorfishesPseudocheilinus, Stethojulis, Thalassoma

Over to other Regional Accounts of Wrasses

Wrasses of Indonesia

Part One of Three

To Part Two, Three,


By Bob Fenner


Genus Anampses:

Anampses caeruleopunctatus Ruppell 1829, the Blue-Spotted Wrasse, is often sold under the notorious "miscellaneous" moniker. Most likely you will find females offered and at way too small a starting size of a few inches. Even the best initial size ones of 4-5 inches rarely live for more than a few weeks. Grows to almost a foot and a half overall length. Female and male shown in the wild.

Anampses cuvier Quoy & Gaimard 1824, the Flag or Pearl Wrasse named in honor of Georges Cuvier is amongst the heartiest species of the genus, but still rates a dismal for survivability. This fish readily consumes fresh or prepared meaty foods, but must also regularly have natural greens. Male and female in Hawai'i shown.

Anampses geographicus Valenciennes 1840, the Geographic Wrasse. Indo-West Pacific. A giant of the genus at more than a foot in maximum length. Variable in color, but generally not a great beauty, and no hardier than the rest of the Anampses. A rare import into the ornamental trade.

Anampses lineatus Randall 1972, the Lined Wrasse. Indo-West Pacific; Red Sea to Indonesia. To a little under five inches in length. 

Anampses meleagrides Valenciennes 1840, the Yellowtail Wrasse. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea, eastern Africa to the Tuamotus. To nearly nine inches in length. Females off Gili Air, Lombok, and N. Sulawesi Indonesia. 

Anampses neoguinaicus Bleeker 1878, the New Guinea Wrasse (3) is a real beauty but fares no better than the rest of the genus. Shipping stress and traumas like mouth damage claim almost all of them. Pictured: a juvenile initial phase aquarium specimen and one of about the same development and a male in Australian waters. Western Pacific. To eight inches in length.

Anampses twistii Bleeker 1856, the Yellow-Breasted or Twist's Wrasse. From the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but best out of the Red Sea from which it still rates a dismal. Below: Half-inch Juvenile and adult live ones in S. Sulawesi and this damaged one in captivity (see especially the mouth), doomed. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=4893&genusname=Anampses&speciesname=twistii

Genus Bodianus: Hogfishes

Bodianus anthioides (Bennett 1832), the Lyretail Hogfish. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea (where this picture was made) out to the Tuamotus. To nine inches in length. A gentle beauty as the genus goes. One and  three inch juveniles and six inch adult in the Red Sea.
Bodianus axillaris (Bennett 1832), the Axilspot Hogfish. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea (where this picture was made) out to the Tuamotus. To eight inches maximum length. Two inch juvenile in captivity and six inch subadult in the Maldives shown.

Bodianus bilunulatus (Lacepede 1801), the Black Spot Hogfish or Tarry Hogfish to science, is often offered retail. Punctuated distribution in the Indo-west Pacific including Hawai'i, where these images were taken. Three inch juvenile and six inch sub-adults shown. Grows to twenty two inches in length in the wild.

Bodianus bimaculatus Allen 1973, the Twinspot or Yellow Hogfish is a supremely desirable peaceful all-fish to reef tank species (1). Indo-Pacific. To only four or so inches and truly beautiful.

Bodianus diana (Lacepede 1801), my wife's namesake-favorite, Diana's Hogfish (1). Well-named after mythology's Goddess of the Hunt, this species can become belligerent toward its tankmates beyond it's ten inch size. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea, where the adult picture (below right) was taken. Small juveniles in waters about S. Sulawesi and Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia.

Bodianus mesothorax (Bloch & Schneider 1801), the Coral or Splitlevel Hogfish is much like the Axil Spot in size, temperament, and appearance as an adult (1). To about ten inches overall length. Indo-west Pacific. Below: A juvenile and adult in captivity, and one in S. Sulawesi. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=5501&genusname=Bodianus&speciesname=mesothorax

Genus Cheilinus:

Cheilinus celebicus (Bleeker 1853), the Celebes (Splendour) Wrasse. To 24 cm. Western Pacific; Moluccas, S. Japan, Tonga. Here in S. Sulawesi. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=5597&genusname=Oxycheilinus&speciesname=celebicus

Cheilinus chlorourus (Bloch 1791), the Floral Wrasse (1). Hardy, but not as good-looking as some of its congeners. To twenty inches long in the wild; much smaller in captivity. Indo-Pacific out to the Tuamotus. The first one a small juvenile in Australia, another more adult in Pulau Redang, Malaysia, and one in Fiji.  

Cheilinus fasciatus, (Bloch 1791), the Redbreasted Wrasse. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea, East Africa to Samoa. To sixteen inches overall length. Red Sea juvenile and adult.

Cheilinus oxycephalus, the Red Hog or Snooty Wrasse (1) is the big winner of the Cheilinus-for-aquariums ratings.. Especially as a juvenile this is a drop-dead gorgeous species that does well in peaceful fish and even reef aquarium settings. To less than eight inches overall length. Indo-Pacific but not Red Sea. Aquarium, N. & S. Sulawesi pix. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=5602&genusname=Cheilinus&speciesname=oxycephalus

Cheilinus trilobatus Lacepede 1801, the Tripletail Wrasse (2) we'll list as it is occasionally sold in the business. This is another aquarium-tough, medium-shipper that gets big (about two feet). Indo-Pacific; Red Sea to the Tuamotus. Here are images from the Maldives, Red Sea and Malaysia.

For curiosity's sake we'll mention the granddaddy of all wrasses that just happens to be in this genus. The Humphead or Napoleon Wrasse, Cheilinus undulatus Ruppell 1835 (2) looks like a tropical ornamental in photographs that lack visual size clues, but it gets the size of your couch! To seven feet (2.3m) and more than four hundred pounds. Folks ought to leave this friendly giant in the sea. Here are images of the world's largest species of Wrasse at one foot in a public aquarium (Waikiki), a two foot juvenile in the Red Sea, and a five foot "pet" in French Polynesia's Moorea. Head profile at top.

Genus Cheilio: I'll mention the seagrass-dwelling Cigar Wrasse, Cheilio inermis (Forsskal 1775) (3), only because it occasionally is offered in pet-fish markets, and rarely lives in captivity. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea, out to Hawai'i. To twenty inches in length. At right: one in the Gilis, Indonesia in a typical flanking behavior, disguised with a Goatfish. Below: Three color varieties in S. Sulawesi.

Genus Choerodon:

Choerodon anchorago (Bloch 1791), the Orange-Spotted Tuskfish. Indo-West Pacific; Sri Lanka to French Polynesia. To about fifteen inches maximum length. A one foot specimen in Bunaken/Manado/Celebes/Indonesia, another in Redang, Malaysia. 

Choerodon cephalotes (Castelnau 1875), the Grass Tuskfish. Queensland to Indonesia. To fifteen inches in length. Found associated with grass beds. This one off of the Whitsundays in Australia. 

Choerodon schoenleinii (Valenciennes 1839), the Blackspot Tuskfish. Indo-West Pacific, Japan to Australia. Largest member of the genus. Up to 38 inches long (1 meter) and 16 kilograms in weight. This one in Australia.

To Part Two, Three,

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