Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    undulatus
    Genus
    Cheilinus
    Family
    Labridae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It is the largest species in the family Labridae, growing to 2.3 m in length and 190 kg.

Introduction

Adult Humphead Maori Wrasse have a relatively deep body, a rounded caudal fin and a hump on the forehead. The species occurs in tropical waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific.

Identification

Adult Humphead Maori Wrasse have a relatively deep body, a rounded caudal fin and a hump on the forehead. The fish is green with wavy lines on the body and two lines behind both eyes. The species name 'undulatus' comes from the Latin for 'waved' or 'wavy'. The larvae look very different to adults.

Habitat

It is found in inshore waters and on coral reefs. Larger individuals are usually seen on steep outer reef slopes at depths between 10 m and 100 m.

Distribution

The species occurs in tropical waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific. In Australia it is known from the offshore reefs of north-western Western Australia and the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland .

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Cheilinus+undulatus

Ozcam map of Humphead Maori Wrasse specimens in the Australian Museum. http://ozcam.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=Cheilinus%20undulatus&zoom=off#mapView

Feeding and diet

The Humphead Maori Wrasse feeds on molluscs, fishes, sea urchins, crustaceans and other invertebrates.

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Choat, J.H., Davies, C.R., Ackerman, J.L. & B.D. Mapstone. 2006. Age structure and growth in a large teleost, Cheilinus undulatus, with a review of size distribution in labrid fishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 318: 237–246.
  3. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. in Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  4. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.
  5. Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & R.D. Ward. 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook, an identification guide to domestic species. CSIRO Marine Research. Pp. 461.