Animal Species:Moon Wrasse, Thalassoma lunare (Linnaeus, 1758)

The Moon Wrasse is green with vertical red lines on the body scales and a crescent moon-shaped yellow patch on the caudal fin. The species is found in tropical and warm temperate waters of the Indo-Pacific.

Moon Wrasse at Halifax Park

Moon Wrasse at Halifax Park
Photographer: Matt Dowse © Matt Dowse

Standard Common Name

Moon Wrasse


The Moon Wrasse is green with vertical red lines on the body scales. The caudal fin is truncate in juveniles but changes to lunate in adults. Juveniles are blue on the lower half of the body. They have a black spot in the middle of the dorsal fin and a black blotch on the caudal fin base.

Size range

The species grows to 30 cm in length.


The species is found in tropical and warm temperate waters of the Indo-Pacific. In Australia it is known from south-western Western Australia, around the tropical north and south to the southern coast of New South Wales.

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.

Thalassoma lunare</

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Moon Wrasse specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  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. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  6. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  7. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, ichthyology, Moon Wrasse, Thalassoma lunare, Labridae, green, blue, red, 'normal fish', 10 cm - 30 cm, stripes or bands, marine, adult,


Mark McGrouther - 4.08 PM, 25 August 2010

Great image Matt.  Thank you for adding it to your comment.  I've taken the liberty of displaying it on the page above so other people can see it.

MattD - 2.08 PM, 14 August 2010
Here is a shot of a Moon Wrasse at Halifax Park Nelson Bay

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