Exquisite Wrasse

Cirrhilabrus Exquisitus
Exquisite Wrasse - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Cirrhilabrus Exquisitus
Other names Exquisite Fairy Wrasse
Size Up to 11 cm (4.3 in)
Weight Under 50 grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst sand & rubble next to coral reefs
Depth Range 1 - 60 m (196 ft)
Exquisite Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The exquisite wrasse is found throughout the tropical waters of Northern Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea, and Western Australia. Their distribution also extends to other areas of the Indo-West Pacific region, showcasing their adaptability to different marine habitats.
  • The exquisite wrasse is a vibrantly coloured fish. Males have a violet body with a radiant green patch on the back and red, orange, and blue markings. Females are usually reddish-orange with white bellies. Both sexes have a distinctive black spot on the dorsal fin.
  • Their diet mainly consists of small invertebrates and zooplankton. They are also known to eat parasites off other fish, providing a cleaning service to larger fish.
  • They are social fish and are usually found in small groups or harems consisting of one dominant male and several females.
  • Exquisite wrasses are active swimmers and need ample space even in captive environments. They exhibit interesting swimming patterns, often seen darting in and out of crevices in the reef.
  • They are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they first mature as females and have the ability to change their sex to male when the environmental condition is appropriate, typically when there is a lack of males.
  • Estimated lifespan is between 5 and 7 years.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

Due to their vibrant colours and relatively small size, exquisite wrasses are often sought after by aquarium enthusiasts. They’re known for their peaceful temperament and compatibility with a wide variety of tank mates. They’re quite active during the day, often swimming in the middle of the water column, making them relatively easy to spot for divers and snorkelers.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Cirrhilabrus

Species: Cirrhilabrus exquisitus

Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List classifies the exquisite wrasse as “Least Concern” due to its wide distribution, large population size, and the lack of a significant decline in numbers.

Exquisite Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Omnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 80 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None