Floral Maori Wrasse

Cheilinus Chlorourus
Floral Maori Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Cheilinus Chlorourus
Other names Dotted Maori, Floral Wrasse, White Dotted Maori, Yellow Dotted Maori Wrasse, Yellow Spotted Maori Wrasse
Size Up to 36 cm (14.17 in)
Weight Up to 1 kg (2.2 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, lagoons & reefs amongst sand, rubble, coral & seagrass
Depth Range 1 - 30 m (100 ft)
Floral Maori Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Floral Maori Wrasse are primarily found along the north eastern coast of Australia, from the top of Queensland to the northern coast of New South Wales. They also inhabit the waters of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
  • They are a visually captivating fish known for their vibrant colours. Males display a floral-like pattern with shades of green, blue, and yellow on their bodies. Juveniles and females have a more subdued coloration with a pale green or brownish background. They have elongated bodies and sharp-toothed mouths, ideal for crush the shells of their prey.
  • They are a carnivorous fish with a varied diet. They primarily feed on a variety of invertebrates, including small crustaceans, molluscs, and sea urchins.
  • Their feeding behaviour plays a crucial role in controlling populations of certain invertebrates and maintaining a balanced ecosystem within coral reef environments.
  • Floral Maori Wrasse are diurnal fish, meaning they are most active during daylight hours and rest or find shelter at night.
  • Breeding habits of Floral Maori Wrasse involve complex social dynamics. They are protogynous hermaphrodites, which means they start their lives as females and later transition to males. This change occurs when the dominant male in a social group disappears or dies.
  • The breeding season for Floral Maori Wrasse typically occurs during the summer months, between December and February, in the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef and other reef systems.
  • Their estimated average lifespan is between 5 – 7 years and up to 10 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

Floral Maori Wrasse are not specifically targeted for recreational fishing, they may be incidentally caught by anglers targeting other species. They are often a catch and release species in Australia. However they are highly sought after by aquarium enthusiasts, due to their colourful appearance and interesting swimming behaviour. They are also popular with snorkelers and divers as they are easy to spot and often swim near the reef, which allows for up-close encounters and excellent photo opportunities.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Cheilinus

Species: Cheilinus Chlorourus

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Floral Maori Wrasse in Australia is classified as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, certain regional populations within their range may face localised threats and could require specific conservation measures.

Fish Taste Quality

Floral Maori Wrasse are a edible fish, however it is not widely consumed in Australia. It is often described as being similar to other reef fish species.

Taste Rating: 2/5

How to catch
Floral Maori Wrasse

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

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

Floral Maori Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate to difficult

Temperament: Semi-Aggressive

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: With caution

Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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