Slender Maori Wrasse, Oxycheilinus celebicus (Bleeker 1853)

Other Names: Celebes Maori Wrasse, Celebes Maoriwrasse, Celebes Maori-wrasse, Celebes Wrasse, Eared Maori Wrasse, Slender Maori

A Slender Maori Wrasse, Oxycheilinus celebicus, at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. Source: Mark Rosenstein / iNaturalist. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

Males are mottled reddish to brownish with pale flecks on the body scales, orange lines radiating from the eye, a small blue spot on the front of the dorsal fin, and a dark blotch on the caudal peduncle. 
Females are overall brownish to reddish, densely mottled with pale red and dark brown blotches, often squarish blotches interspersed with pale bars along the midside forming a broad band that darkens towards the rear, and a small white spot on the upper rear edge of the gill cover. Juveniles have a black ocellus on the caudal-fin base. 
Slender Maori Wrasse have a long conical snout with a slightly concave head profile.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Oxycheilinus celebicus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024,

Slender Maori Wrasse, Oxycheilinus celebicus (Bleeker 1853)

More Info


Offshore reefs of north Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical east-Indo-west Pacific: Andaman Sea to Marshall Islands, north to Japan, south to Western Australia and New Caledonia.
Inhabits sheltered bays and lagoon reefs, usually in coral-rich areas.


Long snout, red lines radiating from eye, mottled red-brown body, dark lateral stripe broken into rectangles that are separated by white streaks near tail, dorsal and anal fins with fine dark flecks.


Protogynous hermaphrodites - changing sex from female to male during their life cycle.


The species is named for Celebes (= Sulawesi), Indonesia.

Species Citation

Cheilinus celebicus Bleeker 1853, Natuurk. Tijdschr. Nederlandsch Indiƫ 5: 171. Type locality: Makassar, Sulawesi, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Slender Maori Wrasse, Oxycheilinus celebicus (Bleeker 1853)


Allen, G.R. 1993. Fishes of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 44: 67-91 (as Cheilinus celebicus)

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. & Russell, B.C. 1986. Part VII Fishes. pp. 79-103 in Berry, P.F. (ed.) Faunal Surveys of the Rowley Shoals, Scott Reef and Seringapatam Reef, northwestern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 25: 1-106 (as Cheilinus celebicus)

Bleeker, P. 1853. Vierde Bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Celebes. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indiƫ 5: 153-174 See ref at BHL

Fukui, Y., Muto, N. & Motomura, H. 2016. A new species of labrid fish Oxycheilinus samurai from the western Pacific Ocean. Ichthyological Research 64(2): 212-220

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Biodiversity of shallow reef fish assemblages in Western Australia using a rapid censusing technique. Records of the Western Australian Museum 20: 247-270 (as Cheilinus celebicus)

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. (as Cheilinus celebicus)

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

Kuiter, R.H. 2010. Labridae fishes: wrasses. Seaford, Victoria, Australia : Aquatic Photographics 398 pp. (as Cheilinus celebicus)

Liu, M. & To, A. 2010. Oxycheilinus celebicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187762A8624186. Downloaded on 17 November 2019.

Moore, G. & Morrison, S. 2009. Fishes of three North West Shelf atolls off Western Australia: Mermaid (Rowley Shoals), Scott and Seringapatam Reefs. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 77: 221-255 

Moore, G.I., Morrison, S.M., Hutchins, B.J., Allen, G.R. & Sampey, A. 2014. Kimberley marine biota. Historical data: fishes. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 84: 161-206

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.

Westneat, M.W. 2001. Labridae. pp. 3381-3467 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384179


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:3-40 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:20 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map