Earmuff Wrasse, Halichoeres melasmapomus Randall 1981

Other Names: Black-eared Wrasse, Cheekspot Wrasse, Ocellated Wrasse

A female Earmuff Wrasse, Halichoeres melasmapomus, at Marovo Island, Solomon Islands, November 2014. Source: Mark Rosenstein / iNaturalist.org. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

A distinctive wrasse with a large pale-edged black spot on the gill cover. Males (terminal phase) are lavender with a darker marking on each scale, a large blue-edged black spot behind the eye, yellow-orange bands on the head, and a red caudal fin. Females (initial phase) are similar with 2-3 pale-edged black spots along the dorsal fin, and a large pale-edged black spot on the caudal fin.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Halichoeres melasmapomus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Jan 2020,

Earmuff Wrasse, Halichoeres melasmapomus Randall 1981

More Info


Rowley Shoals, Western Australia, the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, and reefs in the Coral Sea; also at Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, the species occurs in the east-Indo-west Pacific.
Inhabits rubble and mixed coral/rubble patches along steep drop-offs.


Dorsal fin IX, 12; Anal fin III, 12; Pectoral fin 13; Lateral line scales 27; Vertebrae 25. Anterior lateral line scales with 2-7 pores, more in larger adults; 9-13 suborbital pores. Pelvic fins reaching or nearly reaching anus in large adults.

Species Citation

Halichoeres melasmapomus Randall 1981, Pacific Science 34(4): 421, figs 3-4. Type locality: Pitcairn Island. 


Dianne J. Bray


Australian Faunal Directory

Earmuff Wrasse, Halichoeres melasmapomus Randall 1981


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1979. The Fishes of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Aust. Natl. Parks Wldlf. Ser. Spec. Publ. 2. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service 81 pp. 15 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

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

Randall, J.E. 1981. Two new Indo-Pacific labrid fishes of the genus Halichoeres with notes on other species of the genus. Pacific Science 34(4): 415-432 figs 1-16

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384116


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:10-56 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:14 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map