Southern Maori Wrasse Click to enlarge image
An adult male Southern Maori Wrasse at a depth of 6 m, Gordon's Bay, Sydney, New South Wales, February 1999. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    lineolatus
    Genus
    Ophthalmolepis
    Family
    Labridae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 47cm in length.

Introduction

The Southern Maori Wrasse can be recognised by its colour pattern and shape. It is an elongate fish that changes colour pattern with age and sex.

Identification

Juveniles and females are red-orange above and red-orange to white below. Mature males develop a black stripe along the sides, blue spots on each of the body scales, and blue scribbles on the head.

The common name of this species refers to markings on the head of adult males, which are said to resemble the facial tattoos of New Zealand Maori people.


I.45027-001 - Ophthalmolepis lineolatus
Southern Maori Wrasse, Ophthalmolepis lineolatus (Valenciennes, 1839) Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australian Museum

Habitat

It inhabits coastal rocky reefs. In warmer parts of its distribution, it is often seen in shallow water. In cooler, more southerly areas it is found at greater depths, sometimes down to 60 m.

Distribution

The species is endemic to Australia. It occurs from southern Queensland, around the south of the country to south-western Western Australia.

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.



Other behaviours and adaptations

The Southern Maori Wrasse is an inquisitive species that will often approach divers.

References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life; the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544
  2. Gomon, M.F. & B.C. Russell. in Gomon, M.F, Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.