Celebes Maori Wrasse

Oxycheilinus Celebicus
Celebes Maori Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Oxycheilinus Celebicus
Other names Slender Maori Wrasse, Celebes Wrasse, Eared Maori Wrasse, Slender Maori
Size Up to 20 cm (7.8 in)
Weight Up to .25 kg (.55 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, lagoons & bays amongst coral reefs
Depth Range 3 - 40 m (131 ft)
Celebes Maori Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Celebes Maori Wrasse is commonly found in Western Australia, particularly in the northern region. There are also reports of them being found in parts of the Northern Territory and Queensland.
  • Celebes Maori Wrasses have a vibrant and distinctive coloration. They display a reddish-brown or yellowish-brown body with white to pale-yellow ventral regions. Their head features a prominent hump, and they have intricate patterns and streaks of blue, green, and purple on their body and fins.
  • Celebes Maori Wrasses have a diverse diet, feeding on a variety of prey such as small fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and sea urchins.
  • As predators, Celebes Maori Wrasses play an important ecological role in coral reef ecosystems. They help regulate prey populations, contributing to the balance and health of the reef ecosystem.
  • They are known to exhibit complex social behaviours. They establish territories and engage in hierarchical structures, with larger and more dominant individuals occupying prime locations within the reef.
  • The Celebes Maori Wrasse is a protogynous hermaphrodite, starting their lives as females and transitioning to males as they grow larger. Breeding usually occurs during the warmer months of the year.
  • They have estimated lifespan between 5 – 10 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

The Celebes Maori Wrasse is not specifically targeted for recreational fishing, they can occasionally be caught as bycatch. They are occasionally available in the aquarium trade, favoured for their colours, small size and active swimming behaviour. They can be a fascinating sight for snorkelers and divers, known to be curious and approachable, often allowing for close encounters.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Oxycheilinus

Species: Oxycheilinus Celebicus

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Celebes Maori Wrasse in Australia is currently listed as “Least Concern” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, localised threats, such as overfishing or habitat degradation, can still impact their populations.

How to catch
Celebes Maori Wrasse

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms

Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Not targeted - Bycatch

Celebes Maori Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate to difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Curious

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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