Ornamental Wrasse, Halichoeres claudia Randall & Rocha 2009

Other Names: Claudia's Wrasse, Ornamented Wrasse, Ornate Wrasse

A male (terminal phase) Ornamental Wrasse, Halichoeres claudia, at Raine Island, northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, October 2005. Source: Erik Schlogl / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Males (terminal phase) of this greenish wrasse have a lattice-like pattern of pinkish to orange stripes and bars on sides, pinkish to orange bands on head, a black ocellus on the middle of the dorsal fin, and a small dark spot behind the eye.
Females (intermediate phase) have orange stripes along the sides and a small second dark ocellus on the rear of the dorsal fin.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Halichoeres claudia in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Sep 2020,

Ornamental Wrasse, Halichoeres claudia Randall & Rocha 2009

More Info


Cartier Reef, Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, also Reefs in the Coral Sea off Cairns, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, the species occurs in the western-central Pacific from the Philippines to Taiwan and southern Japan, and east to French Polynesia. 
Inhabits outer reef slopes in 1-35 m.


Carnivore - feeds mostly on small benthic crustaceans and molluscs.

Similar Species

The Ornamental Wrasse differs from other species of Halichoeres in having a green throat with a short pinkish to red stripe, the black ocellus retained on the middle of the dorsal fin in males, irregular stripes on the body and often small green "saddles" along the back.


Named in honour of Claudia, a marine biologist and the the wife of the second author Luis Rocha, for her continued support and help with lab work.

Species Citation

Halichoeres claudia Randall & Rocha, 2009, Zool. Stud. 48(5): 713, Figs. 8-1. Type locality: W of Tareu Pass, Moorea, Society Islands, 21 m.


Dianne J. Bray

Ornamental Wrasse, Halichoeres claudia Randall & Rocha 2009


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

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

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.  (as Halichoeres ornatissimus)

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 Halichoeres ornatissimus)

Ludt, WB, Bernal M, Bowen B, Rocha LA.  2012. Living in the past: Phylogeography and population histories of Indo-Pacific Wrasses (Genus Halichoeres) in shallow lagoons versus outer reef slopes. PLoS ONE 7(6): e38042. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038042 

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. (asHalichoeres ornatissimus)

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. (asHalichoeres ornatissimus)

Randall, J.E. & Rocha, L.A. 2009. Halichoeres claudia sp. nov., a New Indo-Pacific Wrasse (Perciformes:Labridae), the Fourth Species of the H. ornatissimus Complex.Zoological Studies 48(5): 709-718. PDF Open Access

Rocha, L. & Craig, M. 2010. Halichoeres claudia. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. . Downloaded on 30 July 2015.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384119


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-35 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:15 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map