Floral Maori Wrasse, Cheilinus chlorourus (Bloch 1791)

Other Names: Dotted Maori, Floral Wrasse, White-dotted Maori, Yellow-dotted Maori Wrasse, Yellow-spotted Maori-wrasse

A Floral Maori Wrasse, Cheilinus chlorourus, in Western Australia. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef Life Survey. License: CC By Attribution

Females are orange-brown to greenish-brown with rows of fine pale dots along the side, several white bars of blotches on the dorsal fin, a white spot on the body at the rear of the dorsal fin, a broad white bar on the caudal-fin base, and black and white specks on the pelvic, anal and caudal fins. Males are a uniform brown to greenish with a broad dark stripe from the eye to the midside, similar bars on the dorsal fin, and a white spot on the body at the rear of the dorsal fin, and black and white specks on the pelvic, anal and caudal fins. Large males also have red spots and streaks on the head, and a trilobed tail.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Cheilinus chlorourus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1917

Floral Maori Wrasse, Cheilinus chlorourus (Bloch 1791)

More Info


Houtman Abrolhos and offshore reefs, Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, to Angourie, New South Wales; also Cocos (Keeling) Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, reefs in the Coral Sea; and the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.
Inhabits lagoons and coastal reefs, usually in areas with mixed sand, rubble and corals, and occasionally in seagrass beds. 


Dorsal fin X-XI, 8-9; Anal fin III, 8; Pectoral fin 12; Lateral line scales 14-16 + 7-9 (interrupted); Gill rakers 11-14.
Body depth 2.4-2.8 in SL.


Feeds mostly on benthic invertebrates including molluscs, crustaceans, polychaetes and sea urchins.

Similar Species

The similar Tripletail Wrasse, Cheilinus trilobatus, differs in having vertical red, white and black streaks on the body scales, nine dorsal-fin spines, and in lacking black and white specks on its pelvic, anal and caudal fins. Large males of both species have numerous red spots and streaks on the head and a trilobed tail.


The specific name chlorourus is from Greek chloros (= green) and oura (= tailed), presumably in reference to the green tail of the specimen that was illustrated.

Species Citation

Sparus chlorourus Bloch 1791, Naturgeschichte der ausländischen Fische Vol. 5: 24. Type locality: Japan (lectotype). 


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Floral Maori Wrasse, Cheilinus chlorourus (Bloch 1791)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384064


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-30 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:36 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map