Eastern Leopard Wrasse

Macropharyngodon Meleagris
Eastern Leopard Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Macropharyngodon Meleagris
Other names Blackspotted Wrasse, Leopard Wrasse, Reticulated Wrasse
Size Up to 15 cm (5.9 in)
Weight Under 100 grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters on both shallow & deeper coral reefs amongst sandy & rubble areas
Depth Range 2 - 30 m (98 ft)
Eastern Leopard Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Eastern leopard wrasse is a species of marine fish belonging to the family Labridae, which is found in the waters surrounding northern Australia. From Western Australia to northern parts of New South Wales.
  • They have a distinct pattern of black and white spots on their body, which is why they are called the “leopard” wrasse.
  • They are a carnivorous fish and feeds on small crustaceans and other invertebrates.
  • They prefer to live in areas with plenty of coral and rocky crevices, which provide them with shelter and hiding places.
  • The Eastern leopard wrasse is a protogynous hermaphrodite, which means that all individuals start out as females and some will later transition to males. This process is triggered by social cues or the absence of males in the population.
  • The species is known to exhibit sexual dimorphism, with males being more brightly colored and having longer dorsal fins than females. The Eastern leopard wrasse is a solitary species and is usually found alone or in small groups.
  • Estimated lifespan is up to 5 years.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

Eastern leopard wrasses are popular aquarium fish due to their unique and striking appearance. They are relatively hardy and adaptable, making them a good choice for intermediate to advanced aquarists. They are an interesting species to observe while snorkeling or diving due to their colourful appearance. Their body features bold stripes and spots, with a prominent dorsal fin that can be extended during courtship displays.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Macropharyngodon

Species: Macropharyngodon meleagris

Conservation Status

In Australia, the Eastern leopard wrasse is not listed as a threatened species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). However, it is worth noting that the species is only found in northern parts of Australia, where coral reefs are threatened by various factors including climate change, pollution, and overfishing.

Eastern Leopard Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Easy to moderate

Temperament: Aggressive

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Curious

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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