Sharpnose Wrasse

Cheilio Inermis
Sharpnose Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Cheilio Inermis
Other names Cigar Wrasse, Quaker, Sharpnosed Rainbowfish
Size Up to 50 cm (19.6 in)
Weight Up to 1 kg (2.2 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst algae covered reefs & seagrass beds
Depth Range 1 - 30 m (98 ft)
Sharpnose Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Sharpnose Wrasse is widespread in the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean, ranging from Western Australia through Northern Territory and across the Queensland coastline.
  • Sharpnose Wrasse are known for their bright multicolour bodies. The typical coloration is a mix of red-orange with dark blue stripes that run longitudinally along the body.
  • They have distinctive large, sharp canine teeth, especially in the lower jaw, which they use to crush their prey. This feature distinguishes them from other wrasse species.
  • Sharpnose Wrasse are carnivorous, feeding primarily on small invertebrates like crustaceans and molluscs. They use their sharp teeth to crush hard shells.
  • They are polygynous, with males often maintaining harems of females. Breeding season typically falls in the warmer months, from October to February.
  • Males establish territories for breeding and court females with distinct displays. These territories often consist of areas with dense coral or rock formations that provide protection for eggs.
  • Like other wrasses, the Sharpnose Wrasse is diurnal, active during the day and resting at night. They seek shelter in crevices or bury themselves in the sand to avoid predators.
  • Their estimated lifespan is between 5 – 10 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Snorkeling & Diving

They are not typically targeted by recreational fishermen due to their smaller size. They are valued more for their role in maintaining the health of the reefs. They can be shy and elusive, but their bright colours make them relatively easy to spot when diving or snorkeling in areas they inhabit.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Cheilio

Species: Cheilio Inermis

Conservation Status

The Sharpnose Wrasse is not considered endangered or threatened in Australia. They are common throughout their range but are monitored due to their importance in maintaining reef health.

How to catch
Sharpnose Wrasse

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms, Yabbies

Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Not targeted

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Shy

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon, Seagrass Beds

Danger: None

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