Checkerboard Wrasse

Halichoeres Hortulanus
Checkerboard Wrasse - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Halichoeres Hortulanus
Other names Fourspot Wrasse
Size Up to 27 cm (10.6 in)
Weight Up to .40 kg (.88 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, sandy & rubble areas, surge channels along reef slopes
Depth Range 1 - 30 m (98 ft)
Checkerboard Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Checkerboard Wrasse can be found in various parts of Australia, particularly in the tropical and subtropical waters of the country’s northern coast line. From Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and northern parts of New South Wales.
  • This species is characterised by its distinctive checkerboard pattern of alternating light and dark squares on its body, with a colour range of green, blue, and pink hues
  • They have a small, terminal mouth with protruding teeth, which are used to capture and manipulate their prey.
  • Their diet consists of a variety of small invertebrates, such as crustaceans, molluscs, and echinoderms.
  • This species exhibits a unique breeding behaviour called protogynous hermaphroditism, where individuals change sex from female to male during their life cycle
  • Breeding season for the Checkerboard Wrasse in Australia typically occurs during the warmer months, from October to March
  • Estimated lifespan is between 5 – 7 years.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

The Checkerboard Wrasse can make a captivating addition to a home aquarium due to its vibrant coloration, active swimming behaviour, and distinctive checkerboard pattern. In the wild, they are a fascinating species to observe for divers and snorkelers, as they can often be seen picking at coral and rocks in search of food.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Halichoeres

Species: Halichoeres Hortulanus

Conservation Status

The Checkerboard Wrasse is listed as a species of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, indicating that it is not currently at risk of extinction.

Checkerboard Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 200 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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