Southern Maori Wrasse, Ophthalmolepis lineolata (Valenciennes 1839)


Other Names: Australian Maori-wrasse, Butcher's Prick, Maori, Maori Parrotfish, Maori Wrasse, Rainbow-fish

A male (terminal phase) Southern Maori Wrasse, Ophthalmolepis lineolata, at North West Solitary Island, New South Wales. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

Summary:

An easily recognised wrasse with broad brownish, white and yellow stripes along the sides and distinctive blue lines and 'scribbles' on the head. 

Females and juveniles are reddish-orange above, white along the mid-sides and yellowish-brown below. Males are yellowish brown above, yellowish-brown below, with an irregular black stripe below the white midlateral stripe. Males also have blue spots on the scale margins


Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Ophthalmolepis lineolata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Nov 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/260

Southern Maori Wrasse, Ophthalmolepis lineolata (Valenciennes 1839)

More Info


Distribution

Endemic to the southern half of Australia, from southern Queensland to the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. Although the Southern Maori Wrasse is rare in the Bass Strait region, it is common and widespread elsewhere throughout its range. 

Southern Maori Wrasse inhabit exposed rocky reefs, in depths of 1-60 m, with a preference for kelp and urchin barren habitats. They are most abundant on deeper urchin-grazed reefs, where adults often aggregate in large numbers. Juveniles are more solitary and usually inhabit bays, harbours and estuaries. 

Features

Dorsal fin IX, 12-13; Anal fin  III, 13; Caudal fin 12; Pectoral fin 14; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 52-56.

Body moderately shallow (approx. 30% SL), moderately elongate, compressed. Head of moderate size (approx. 26% SL), dorsal profile convex; eyes small (approx. 20% HL); mouth small, upper jaw not reaching as far as eye; teeth conical, in single series, anterior pair in each jaw enlarged and outwardly curved. 

Scales small, cycloid, firmly attached, covering body but not head, body scales not extending onto base of dorsal and anal fins; lateral line bent abruptly downwards beneath soft dorsal fin. 

Dorsal fin continuous, with an elongate base and uniform height; anal fin similar to and opposite rear half of dorsal fin; caudal fin truncate. Pectoral fins short, upper rays longest. Pelvic fins short, arising beneath pectoral-fin bases, not reaching near anus.

Size

To 47 cm TL

Colour

Juveniles and females are reddish-orange on the upper half of the body, and reddish-orange and white on the lower half. Adult males are reddish-brown above, yellowish-brown below; with a broad white mid-lateral stripe, body scales with blue spots sometimes forming indistinct narrow vertical bands; head and throat with blue bands and markings; dorsal and anal fins with narrow blue longitudinal lines and markings; caudal fin with blue spots.

Feeding

Feeds on benthic invertebrates such as polychaete worms, gastropod and bivalve molluscs, small crustaceans and echinoids.

Biology

Protogynous hermaphrodites, changing sex from female to male during their life cycle. At about 2 years of age and around 18 cm TL in length, juveniles change sex to ecome females (intermediate phase). At about 5 years of age and between 27 and 34 cm TL, females then change sex into the terminal phase males. Longevity is about 14 years.

In eastern Australia, Southern Maori Wrasse spawn during summer with peak spawning from January to March. In Western Australia, they spawn during Spring and Summer.

Fisheries

Fished recreationally and commercially on hook and line near exposed reefs in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, but rarely in Victorian waters. Also taken as a bycatch in the giant crab and rock lobster trap fishery.

Remarks

The common name is for the blue markings on the head that supposedly resemble tattoos of New Zealand Maori peoples.

Species Citation

Julis lineolatus Valenciennes, 1839, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 13: 436. Type locality: Port Western, Victoria.

Author

Dianne J. Bray

Southern Maori Wrasse, Ophthalmolepis lineolata (Valenciennes 1839)

References


Barrett, N.S. 1995. Short-term and long-term movement patterns of 6 temperate reef fishes (Families Labridae and Monacanthidae). Marine & Freshwater Research 46: 853-860 

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Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Fairy & Rainbow Wrasses and their Relatives. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 207 pp.

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Lek, E. 2011. Comparisons between the biological characteristics of three co-occurring and reef-dwelling labrid species at two different latitudes. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

Lek, E., Fairclough, D.V., Hall, N.G., Hesp, S.A. & Potter, I.C. 2012. Do the maximum sizes, ages and patterns of growth of three reef-dwelling labrid species at two latitudes differ in a manner conforming to the metabolic theory of ecology? Journal of Fish Biology 81: 1936–1962. Abstract

Lek, E., Fairclough, D.V., Platell, M.E., Clarke, K.R., Tweedley, J.R. & Potter, I.C. 2011. To what extent are the dietary compositions of three abundant, co-occurring labrid species different and related to latitude, habitat, body size and season? Journal of Fish Biology 78: 1913–1943. Abstract

Morton, J.K. 2007. The ecology of three species of wrasse (Pisces: Labridae) on temperate rocky reefs of New South Wales, Australia. PhD Thesis. Faculty of Science and Information Technology, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle.

Morton, J.K. & Gladstone, W. 2011. Spatial, temporal and ontogenetic variation in the association of fishes (family Labridae) with rocky-reef habitats. Marine and Freshwater Research 62: 870–884.

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Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37384040

Biology:Hermaphrodite

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-60 m

Fishing:Recreational & minor commercial

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:47 cm TL

Native:Endemic

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