Southern Maori Wrasse

Ophthalmolepis Lineolatus
Southern Maori Wrasse - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Ophthalmolepis Lineolatus
Other names Australian Maori Wrasse, Butcher's Prick, Maori Parrotfish, Maori Wrasse, Rainbowfish
Size Up to 47 cm (18.5 in)
Weight Up to 1 kg (2.2 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst rocky areas & reef, abundant with kelp
Depth Range 5 - 60 m (196 ft)
Southern Maori Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Southern Maori Wrasse is a marine species of fish found in the waters around southern Australia, from Western Australia to southern Queensland, including Tasmania.
  • They have a distinctive appearance, with a yellow-reddish-green body and blue-green stripes running vertically along the sides of the body.
  • This species feeds primarily on small invertebrates, such as crustaceans and molluscs.
  • The Southern Maori Wrasse are known to be a sedentary species, often staying in one spot for extended periods of time.
  • They are a protogynous hermaphrodite (able to change sex) that forms harems during the breeding season and releases eggs and sperm into the water column for external fertilisation, with larvae being pelagic and settling onto the seabed after several weeks of drifting.
  • Adult fish are more common in deeper waters, with 20 m being the average depth where they typically congregate.
  • Estimated lifespan is up to 14 years in the wild.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing

The Southern Maori Wrasse (is a popular species for recreational fishing in some parts of Australia. However, due to their slow growth rate, long lifespan, and vulnerability to overfishing, they are considered a protected species in some areas and have restrictions on bag and size limits.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Ophthalmolepis

Species: Ophthalmolepis Lineolatus

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Southern Maori Wrasse in Australia is listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is not currently considered threatened or endangered. However, they are a protected species in some areas and have restrictions on bag and size limits due to their slow growth rate, long lifespan, and vulnerability to overfishing.

Fish Taste Quality

Southern Maori Wrasse is considered a good eating fish by some people who enjoy its firm white flesh and mild flavour. However, due to their slow growth rate and long lifespan, they are not commonly targeted.

Taste Rating: 3/5

How to catch
Southern Maori Wrasse

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms, Soft plastics

Technique: Keep bait on the bottom, Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Targeted