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Related FAQs: Fairy Wrasses, Velvet Wrasses 2, Velvet Wrasses 3, Velvet Wrasse Identification, Cirrhilabrus ID 2, Velvet Wrasse Behavior, Velvet Wrasse Compatibility, Velvet Wrasse Selection, Velvet Wrasse Systems, Velvet Wrasse Feeding, Velvet Wrasse Disease, Wrasses, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Behavior, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Feeding, Wrasse Diseases,  

Related Articles: The Diversity of Wrasses, Family Labridae, Cook Islands Wrasses

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 Fairy or Velvet Wrasses, the Genus Cirrhilabrus, pt. 1

To: Part 2

By Bob Fenner

  Cirrhilabrus jordani

Genus Cirrhilabrus:

A few facts regarding this, the genus of Fairy or Velvet Wrasses. There are about thirty described species (more to come) of these small (handful of inches), colorful just-above-the-reef zooplankton feeders. All Cirrhilabrus species are sexually dichromatic (discernible color differences between the sexes) and to a degree sexually dimorphic (males slightly larger, with longer, more pointed unpaired fins). All are protogynous hermaphrodites, with females turning into males as space, haremic conditions allow. With a few exceptions all Fairy Wrasses fare moderately well (2's) in peaceful all-fish to reef settings. Most are lost to shipping damage, badgering from tankmates and outright starvation; quite a few "jump out" of small tank openings. I'll list my favorite (hardiest) species, though other authors have other picks out of the twenty or so offered in the trade on an irregular, seasonal basis. Some (mostly) males of popular/available Cirrhilabrus species below... one male to a very covered tank, please.

Cirrhilabrus adornatus Randall & Kunzmann 1998. To about 6.3 cm. Eastern Indian Ocean: known only from Indonesia (Sumatra and the Mentawai Islands).  Aq. pic. http://fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=56636

Cirrhilabrus aurantidorsalis Aquarium photos of a young (6.5 cm.) and older male by Hiroyuki Tanaka.

Cirrhilabrus balteatus Randall 1988, the Girdled Wrasse. Western Central Pacific: Marshall Islands. To 10 cm. overall length.


Cirrhilabrus bathiphilus Randall & Nagareda 2002. Western Pacific; Coral Sea. 3 cm. female photo by Hiroyuki Tanaka. 

Cirrhilabrus blatteus Springer & Randall 1974, the Purple-boned Wrasse. Red Sea endemic. To six inches in length. Found a few feet above the bottom in haremic conditions. Zooplanktivore. Image or a male, made in Hurghada, Red Sea.

Cirrhilabrus condei Allen & Randall 1996. Photo of males in an aquarium by Hiroyuki Tanaka and RMF.

Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura (Bleeker 1851), the Blueside Wrasse. Western Pacific. To six inches in length. N. Sulawesi male at right. Below: Aquarium photo of male, one in Gili Air, Lombok Indonesia, and  another male in an aquariums. Female in N. Sulawesi. 

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Cirrhilabrus earlei Randall & Pyle 2001, the Orange-Striped Wrasse. Western Central Pacific; Palau. To 6.9 cm. in length. Aquarium image; House of Fins 2012.

Hiro sends a Velvet pic (via FB!)!   9/3/13
Hello, friend. How do you do ?  I got a 6 cm long male of Cirrhilabrus naokoae (in display), from Indonesia and an 8cm male C. earlei, from the Marshalls.  You may use for your web and I hope so. Good Luck and thanks.  Sincerely, Hiroyuki
Bob Fenner
Tanaka-san! How have you been? Thank you for the pic!

Cirrhilabrus exquisitus Smith 1957, the Exquisite Wrasse. Indo-west Pacific, to the Tuamotus. To nearly five inches in length. Aquarium and Fiji images of  males, the last "flashing".

Cirrhilabrus filamentosus (Klausewitz 1976), the Whip-fin Wrasse. Shown: a male in the Gilis and  a 9 cm. male in an aquarium by Hiroyuki Tanaka.  

Cirrhilabrus flavianalis  Aquarium photo by Hiroyuki Tanaka.


Cirrhilabrus flavidorsalis Randall & Carpenter 1980, the Yellow-fin Fairy Wrasse. To 5.7 cm. Western Pacific; Indonesia and Philippines. Aquarium photos of a 3 cm. female and 6 cm. male by Hiroyuki Tanaka.

Cirrhilabrus johnsoni Randall 1988. To 6 cm. Western Central Pacific; Marshall Islands. Photos of a female and male by Hiroyuki Tanaka.

Cirrhilabrus jordani Snyder 1904, the Flame Wrasse. Hawaiian endemic. To four inches in length. One of the hardiest and most beautiful of the genus. Aquarium photos of  males by RMF and Hiroyuki Tanaka. A female and male below.

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.


Cirrhilabrus katherinae Randall 1972.  

Cirrhilabrus laboutei Randall & Lubbock 1982, Laboute's Wrasse. Southwestern Pacific. To almost five inches long. Aquarium photo of a male. As young, very adaptable to captivity. Male pix by RMF and Hiroyuki Tanaka.

Cirrhilabrus lanceolatus Randall & Masuda 1991.  
Cirrhilabrus lineatus Randall & Lubbock 1982, the Purplelined Wrasse. Southwestern Pacific: New Caledonia, Loyalty Islands. To nearly five inches in length. Aquarium image of males by RMF and Hiroyuki Tanaka. Very bottom Mich and BobF at Interzoo 08.

Cirrhilabrus lubbocki Randall & Carpenter 1980, Lubbock's Wrasse. Western central Pacific; Philippines, Celebes/Indonesia. At right a male by Hiroyuki Tanaka. Below: The first male in captivity a second off Pulau Redang, Malaysia, the last in N. Sulawesi.

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available)
Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
Cirrhilabrus lunatus Randall & Masuda 1991. To 8.5 cm. Southern Japan; Okinawa and Ogasawara Islands. A photo of a 7 cm. male by Hiroyuki Tanaka. 

Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus Randall 1988. Western Pacific. To nearly five inches in total length. Need frequent feedings of meaty foods, lots of space and hiding places... prefer dimmed lighting. Three male pix, the first two by Hiroyuki Tanaka at 7 and 11 cm., the last by RMF.
Cirrhilabrus lyukuensis Ishigawa 1904. A nomen nudum. A junior synonym for C. cyanopleura. See fishbase.org re.   

To: Part II

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