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 Maori/Splendour Wrasses, the Genera  Oxycheilinus & (to):  Cheilinus

By Bob Fenner

Oxycheilinus bimaculatus  

Genus Oxycheilinus: More Maori/Splendour Wrasses, Six valid species

Oxycheilinus arenatus (Valenciennes 1840), the Speckled Maori Wrasse. Indo-Pacific including the Red Sea. To nearly eight inches in length.

No pic

Oxycheilinus bimaculatus (Valenciennes 1840), the Twinspot Wrasse (2) is right about the right size at 6 inches maximum, but this shy beauty really takes a beating in the process of collection, holding and shipping from the wild. Indo-Pacific out to the Hawaiian Islands. Formerly placed in the genus Cheilinus. At right, a male and female in Hawai'i. Below: a juvenile, intermediate and adult in N. Sulawesi pictured. 

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

Oxycheilinus celebicus (Bleeker 1853), the Celebes or Slender Splendour Wrasse (2) also grows to about nine inches and perishes for the same "induced" reasons as the Twinspot. West-central Pacific. These two and four inch specimens in Pulau Redang, Malaysia.

Oxycheilinus digrammus (Lacepede 1801), the Cheeklined Wrasse (2) is probably the most commonly offered member of the genus. Initially healthy specimens do well, but most are received from the wild in poor condition. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea, out to Samoa. To sixteen inches in length in the wild. Here are some images taken in (the first at right of a tiny one inch or so specimen in Pulau Redang, Malaysia, adults below in the Maldives, the other two in the Red Sea to illustrate how varying this species appears.

Oxycheilinus orientalis (Gunther 1862), the Oriental Maori Wrasse. Western Pacific. To six inches in length. Replaced by Cheilinus mentalis in the Indian Ocean. A half-size individual here in Bali, TiffB pic 2014

Oxycheilinus rhodochrous (Gunther 1867), a two inch juv. in S. Leyte, P.I. 2013

Oxycheilinus unifasciatus (Streets 1877), the Ring Tail or One-Banded Wrasse (2) is the widest ranging member of the genus. Found across the Pacific's Oceania through the Indian Ocean and Red Sea, and growing only to about a foot, it still does poorly in captivity. Formerly placed in the genus Cheilinus. At right a subadult and adult color phase individual in Hawai'i, Below juveniles in Hawaii and a bit older one in Roratonga in the Cooks.


"Other" Splendour Wrasses: Keep your eyes peeled for the occasional "odd", otherwise misidentified Cheilinus and Oxycheilinus species at your dealers, that stay small enough for home aquarium use. And, beware of the giant ones. 

Bibliography/Further Reading:

Stratton, Richard F. 1996. The broomtail wrasse. TFH 7/96.

Stratton, Richard F. 1997. The Twinspot Maori wrasse. TFH 7/97.


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