Moon Wrasse

Thalassoma Lunare
Moon Wrasse - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Thalassoma Lunare
Other names Sunset Wrasse, Lunar Wrasse, Crescent Wrasse
Size Up to 45 cm (17.7 in)
Weight Up to 1 kg (2.2 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, lagoons, estuaries & bays amongst reefs
Depth Range 1 - 30 m (100 ft)
Moon Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The moon wrasse is a species of fish that can be found in the coastal waters of central and northern Australia. Primarily found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, and northern parts of New South Wales.
  • Their coloration is a greenish-blue body with a crescent-shaped, yellowish-green mark on their sides that gives them their common name. This mark is shaped like a crescent moon, and the rest of their body is covered in small, dark spots. Their head and face are typically a darker blue colour, and they have a sharp, pointed snout. The males tend to be larger and more brightly coloured than females, with longer fins.
  • They feed on a variety of small invertebrates and fish, such as crabs, shrimp, and small bony fish.
  • Moon wrasse are often seen in groups, swimming close to the bottom and foraging for food.
  • The moon wrasse is a protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning they start off as females and later transform into males.
  • They are known to have a unique mating ritual, where the male will change colour and chase the female until she releases her eggs.
  • The male will then fertilise the eggs and protect them until they hatch.
  • The estimated lifespan is up to 10 years in the wild.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

Moon wrasse can make a beautiful and interesting addition to a large, well-established reef aquarium. However, they require specific care and maintenance, and should only be kept by experienced aquarium hobbyists. They are a popular species for snorkelers and divers to observe in their natural habitat. Their distinct and striking coloration, as well as their active swimming behaviour, can make them an interesting and entertaining species to watch.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Thalassoma

Species: Thalassoma Lunare

Conservation Status

The conservation status of Moon Wrasse in Australia is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This means that the species is not considered to be at significant risk of extinction or population decline.

Moon Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate to difficult

Temperament: Aggressive

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Aggressive

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Caves, Deepsea, Lagoon

Danger: None