Please visit our Sponsors
Related FAQs: Wrasses In General, Wrasses, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Feeding, Wrasse Diseases,  

Related Articles: Wrasses, Anampses, Hogfishes/Bodianus, Maori Wrasses/Cheilinus & Oxycheilinus, Fairy/Velvet Wrasses/Cirrhilabrus, Coris & Coris gaimard, Bird Wrasses/Gomphosus, Halichoeres, Hemigymnus & Hologymnosus Wrasses, 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 Three of Three

To Part One, Two,

By Bob Fenner

Hemigymnus fasciatus

Genera Hemigymnus & Hologymnosus:

Hemigymnus fasciatus (Bloch 1792), the Barred Thicklip Wrasse (2). Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea, east to Tahiti. To thirty two inches long in the wild. Pictured are a six inch juvenile in an aquarium, Fiji, one of fifteen inches in N. Sulawesi and a two foot adult in the Maldives.

Hemigymnus melapterus (Bloch 1791), the Blackeye Thicklip Wrasse (2).  Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea, east to Tahiti. To thirty six inches in the wild. Shown are a too-small, two inch juvenile in captivity, a four inch individual in Fiji (about the best aquarium starting size), and a sixteen inch adult in the Red Sea.

Hologymnosus annulatus (Lacepede 1801), the Ring Wrasse (2). Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea east to the Marianas. To sixteen inches in length. Here are images of a juvenile (3"), female and male in the Red Sea.

Hologymnosus doliatus (Lacepede 1801), the Pastel Ring or Candycane Wrasse (2). Indo-Pacific east to the Line Islands. To eighteen inches. Images: juveniles and adult female in an aquarium. 

Genus Labrichthys: The sole member of this genus is the Tubelip Wrasse, Labrichthys unilineatus (Guichenot 1847). Indo-Pacific, east Africa to Samoa. To seven inches in length in the wild. Below: a juvenile off Heron Island, Australia a female in Pulau Redang, Malaysia, and a four inch male in a collector's aquarium in Fiji.

Genus Labroides:

Labroides bicolor Fowler & Bean 1928, the Bicolor Cleaner Wrasse (3), easily recognized, easily lost Indo Pacific beauty. Indo-Pacific, east Africa to Micronesia. To five and a half inches in length. Here are images of a juvenile and adult in Maldives and Fiji respectively.

Labroides dimidiatus (Valenciennes 1839), the common or Blue Cleaner Wrasse (3). Thousands will be collected today and thousands will die. One out of thousands lives for a year in captivity. Indo-Pacific, east Africa, Red Sea to the Marquesas. To four and a half inches in length. Juvenile in Bunaken/Sulawesi/Indonesia, intermediate phase in N. Sulawesi and an adult, likely for only a short while, in captivity.

Labroides pectoralis Randall & Springer 1975, the Blackspot Cleaner Wrasse. Indo-Pacific, Christmas Island to the Line Islands. To four and a half inches in length. One in Bunaken/Sulawesi/Indonesia, another off of Queensland, Australia.

Labroides rubrolabiatus Randall 1958, the Red Lip Cleaner Wrasse (3), of the Pacific's Oceania ought to be left in the sea as well. To four inches in length. On a Moray Eel (Gymnothorax javanicus) in Moorea, French Polynesia, a juvenile in Nuka Hiva, Marquesas and an adult in Fiji.

Genus Labropsis: Tubemouth Wrasses

Labropsis alleni Randall 1981, Allen's Tubelip Wrasse. Indo-Australian; Philippines, Marshall's, Solomon's, Indonesia. To 10 cm. Fishbase link. Adults likely feed on coral polyps, juveniles are facultative cleaners.  N. & S. Sulawesi pix. 

Labropsis australis Randall 1981, the Southern Tubelip. Western Pacific. To four inches or so in length. A juvenile in Fiji, intermediate and adult off Heron Island, GBR, Australia below. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=4868&genusname=Labropsis&speciesname=australis

Labropsis manabei Schmidt 1931, Northern Tubelip Wrasse. Western Pacific; Southern Japan, Philippines, Indonesia. To 10 cm. Fishbase link.  N. Sulawesi pic. 

Labropsis xanthonata Randall 1981, the Comet, Yellowback or V-Tail Tubelip Wrasse (3). An expensive addition from the South Pacific. Maldives image of juvenile stage, aquarium image of adult.

Genus Macropharyngodon: Leopard Wrasses

Macropharyngodon negrosensis Herre 1932, the Black Leopard Wrasse (3) is usually offered as a "miscellaneous" item. Only the ones from Australia generally live. Indo-Pacific; Andaman Sea to Samoa. To nearly five inches in length. Aquarium and Redang, Malaysia images. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=4985&genusname=Macropharyngodon&speciesname=negrosensis

Macropharyngodon ornatus Randall 1978, the Ornate Leopard Wrasse (3), or False Leopard. Best from Australia and Sri Lanka. Indo-Pacific; Sri Lanka to New Guinea. To a bit over five inches in length. Aquarium and N. Sulawesi pix. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=12724&genusname=Macropharyngodon&speciesname=ornatus

Razorfishes and Rock Movers:

This genus contains the most prominent "Rock Mover" or Razorfish species, The Dragon Wrasse, N. taeniourus (Lacepede 1801)(formerly in the genus Hemipteronotus). There are actually a few other genera (e.g. Xyrichthys) and several species of these specialized, wedge-headed fishes in the Worlds tropical seas. Most are too plain, or get too rambunctious to be of interest/use to aquarists. All are prodigious diggers and movers of decor that need digging room, substrate and well assembled decor to prevent toppling.        Novaculichthys taeniourus  (Lay & Bennett 1839) the Rock Mover, Dragon or Indian Wrasse (2) is a very hardy fish that is more often killed by aquarists than dies from other influences. As an aquarium specimen this species requires regular "beefy" feedings of animal-based foods. It is a gluttonous feeder that quickly starves if underfed. Not for reef tanks, Razorfishes are territorial and aggressive fishes. To about a foot in length.  Juvenile in the wild (Hawai'i), one in captivity and adult in Hawai'i shown. One other species in this genus. Not used in the trade.

Genus Oxycheilinus:

Oxycheilinus bimaculatus (Valenciennes 1840), the Twinspot Wrasse (2) is right about the right size at 6 inches maximum, but this shy beauty really takes a beating in the process of collection, holding and shipping from the wild. Indo-Pacific out to the Hawaiian Islands. Formerly placed in the genus Cheilinus. At right, a male and female in Hawai'i. Below: a juvenile, intermediate and adult in N. Sulawesi pictured. 

Oxycheilinus celebicus (Bleeker 1853), the Celebes or Slender Splendour Wrasse (2) also grows to about nine inches and perishes for the same "induced" reasons as the Twinspot. West-central Pacific. These two and four inch specimens in Pulau Redang, Malaysia.

Oxycheilinus digrammus (Lacepede 1801), the Cheeklined Wrasse (2) is probably the most commonly offered member of the genus. Initially healthy specimens do well, but most are received from the wild in poor condition. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea, out to Samoa. To sixteen inches in length in the wild. Here are some images taken in (the first at right of a tiny one inch or so specimen in Pulau Redang, Malaysia, adults below in the Maldives, the other two in the Red Sea to illustrate how varying this species appears.

Oxycheilinus orientalis (Gunther 1862), the Oriental Maori Wrasse. Western Pacific. To six inches in length. Replaced by Cheilinus mentalis in the Indian Ocean.

No pic

Oxycheilinus unifasciatus (Streets 1877), the Ring Tail or One-Banded Wrasse (2) is the widest ranging member of the genus. Found across the Pacific's Oceania through the Indian Ocean and Red Sea, and growing only to about a foot, it still does poorly in captivity. Formerly placed in the genus Cheilinus. At right a subadult and adult color phase individual in Hawai'i, Below juveniles in Hawaii and a bit older one in Roratonga in the Cooks.

Genus Paracheilinus:

Paracheilinus bellae Randall 1988, Bell's Flasher Wrasse. Western central Pacific, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands. To two and a half inches in length.  
Paracheilinus carpenteri Randall & Lubbock 1981, the Pink Flasher Wrasse. Indo-west Pacific. Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia. To three inches in length. Males in captivity and N. Sulawesi.

Paracheilinus cyaneus Kuiter & Allen, 1999. Western Central Pacific: Indonesia. To three inches in length. Found in sheltered areas of broken coral rubble. Aquarium photo of a 5 cm. male upper, and a P. filamentosus and males below by Hiroyuki Tanaka. 

Paracheilinus filamentosus Allen 1974, the Filamentous Wrasse. Indo-Pacific. To six inches total length. Lives in rubble zones, near the bottom, feeding on zooplankton. At right, an aquarium photo of a male by Hiroyuki Tanaka. Below: Aquarium image, and an excited and not males (and female, lower) I chased in N. Sulawesi.

Paracheilinus flavianalis Kuiter & Allen 1999. Eastern Indian Ocean: Indonesia and northwestern Australia. To 8.5 cm. in length. Pix of two males displaying by Hiroyuki Tanaka. 

Paracheilinus mccoskeri Randall & Harmellin-Vivien 1977, McCosker's Flasher Wrasse. Western Indian Ocean: Comoros, Andaman Sea and Maldives. To two and a half inches in length. Aquarium photo of a displaying male, females by RMF. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=4842&genusname=Paracheilinus&speciesname=mccoskeri

Genus Pseudocheilinus:

Pseudocheilinus evanidus Jordan & Evermann 1903, the Pin-Striped or Striated Wrasse (2). I like this fish's other common names, the Disappearing or Vanishing Wrasse for its bashfulness. To a grand size of three inches. Indo-Pacific, including Red Sea and Hawai'i. Two in the Red Sea.

Pseudocheilinus hexataenia (Bleeker 1857), the Sixline Wrasse (2). A feisty, though small (to 4") a reef tank species. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea in its distribution. Aquarium and Queensland, Australia images.

Pseudocheilinus octotaenia Jenkins 1901, the Eight-Lined Wrasse (2) comes in two color morphs, one more orange, the other more pinkish in body hue. Both can become agonistic toward other fishes. Under-crowding, over-decorating and keen observation are called for here, as always.  Indo-Pacific, including Hawai'i.. To five and a half inches in length. Both color morphs shown in captivity.

Pseudodax moluccanus (Valenciennes 1839), the Chiseltooth Wrasse. Monotypic. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea to the Tuamotus. Up to a foot in length in the wild. Occasionally imported for the aquarium trade, rarely lives due to captive trauma. A juvenile and adult in the upper Red Sea shown.

Pseudojuloides severnsi Bellwood & Randall, 2000. Indo-West Pacific; Sri Lanka, Ryukyu Islands, Indonesia. To about four inches in length.

Pteragogus cryptus (Valenciennes 1839), the Cocktail Wrasse. Indo-West Pacific; East Africa to PNG, south to Australia, north to Japan. To eight inches overall length. This four inch specimen off Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia. 

Genus Stethojulis:

Stethojulis albovittata (Bonnaterre 1788), the Bluelined Wrasse (3), of the Western Indian Ocean including the Red Sea. Gorgeous males that don't live in captivity. To five inches in length. An initial phase individual in S. Sulawesi and a terminal phase one in the Red Sea. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=8025&genusname=Stethojulis&speciesname=albovittata

Stethojulis balteata (Quoy & Gaimard 1824), the Belted Wrasse (3), is an Hawaiian endemic. This is the most common and hardiest member of the genus, but still has a dismal survival rate. Two male pix and a female off of the Big Island. To six inches long.

Stethojulis bandanensis (Bleeker 1851), the Red-Shoulder Wrasse. Indo-Pacific, from eastern Africa to the tropical eastern Pacific coast. To six inches in length. Shown: Males in French Polynesia and S. Sulawesi.

Stethojulis strigiventer (Bennett 1832), the Stripebelly Wrasse. Females are actually striped on their abdomens. East Africa to Samoa, Micronesians. A male off of the Whitsundays in Queensland, Australia, and a nice grouping of females/initial phase individuals in S. Sulawesi. 

Stethojulis trilineata (Bloch & Schneider 1801), the Three-Lined Wrasse. Indo-West Pacific; Maldives to north Australia, Palau, Samoa, southern Japan. To six inches in length. A washed-out male in captivity and one in S. Sulawesi shown. 

Genus Thalassoma:

Thalassoma amblycephalum (Bleeker 1856), the Bluntheaded Wrasse. Indo-Pacific. To six inches in length. Occasionally imported for the aquarium trade; not always in good shape (3). Pictured below: A juvenile in S. Sulawesi, females, male in the Maldives. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=5642&genusname=Thalassoma&speciesname=amblycephalum

Thalassoma hardwicke (Bennett 1830), the Six-Barred Wrasse (3). Indo-Pacific, to eight inches. The first one in the Maldives, the second in the Cooks.

Thalassoma jansenii (Bleeker 1856), Jansen's Wrasse. Indo-West Pacific. To eight inches. Not a great beauty but hardy by standards for the genus (2). Specimen in a tank in a Fiji wholesaler's and Australia.

Thalassoma lunare (Linnaeus 1758), the Moon Wrasse (2), sometimes comes in great, other times... all die. Red Sea and Indian Ocean,  to the Line Islands. Length to ten inches. Can be more green or blue in overall coloration. Young have a dark spot on their caudal and mid-dorsal fins. A male off of Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia, and female in the Red Sea. 

Thalassoma purpureum (Forsskal 1775), the Surge Wrasse (3). Indo-Pacific, to more than one foot long. This one in the Seychelles.

Thalassoma quinquevittatum (Lay & Bennett 1839), the Red-Ribbon Wrasse (3). Indo-Pacific, to six inches. Aquarium image.

Thalassoma trilobatum (Lacepede 1801), I wish was called the Three-Line Wrasse, but it's another of the Christmas Wrasses (just how many labrids are green and red anyway?)(3). To twelve inches overall length. This image taken in Hawai'i.

Wetmorella nigropinnata (Seale 1901), Sharpnose or Possum Wrasse. One of two species. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea to the Marquesas, Southern Japan, Micronesia. To three inches in length. Lives in caves and crannies; secretive species. Feed on small benthic invertebrates. Aquarium photo. 


Iniistius aneitensis (Gunther 1862), the Yellow-Blotch Razorfish. Indo-Pacific: Chagos to Hawaiian Islands, Micronesia. To 24 cm. Here in N. Sulawesi.

To Part One, Two,

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: