Hoeven's Wrasse, Halichoeres melanurus (Bleeker 1851)

Other Names: Tailspot Wrasse, Tail-spot Wrasse, Three-eyed Wrasse

A male (terminal phase) Hoeven's Wrasse, Halichoeres melanurus, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Andy Lewis / Lizard Island Filed Guide, http://lifg.australianmuseum.net.au/. License: CC by Attribution

Males have a mauve body with pinkish to orange wavy bands on a yellowish-green head, 3-6 narrow blue bars on the upper side, a yellow pectoral-fin base, a patch of black scales behind pectoral fin,  and a black tail tip. Females have alternating yellowish-orange and blue stripes, a large black ocellus on middle of the dorsal fin, a small black spot at the front of the dorsal fin, and a small black ocellus on the upper caudal-fin base. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Halichoeres melanurus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Nov 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/235

Hoeven's Wrasse, Halichoeres melanurus (Bleeker 1851)

More Info


North of Port Hedland and offshore reefs of Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, to Brisbane, Queensland and reefs in the Coral Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, east-Indo-west-central Pacific.
Individuals or small groups usually inhabit sheltered coral reefs and rocky shores. 


Feeds on small invertebrates such as polychaete worms, forams, and small crustaceans such as copepods and isopods.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Australian Faunal Directory

Hoeven's Wrasse, Halichoeres melanurus (Bleeker 1851)


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

Allen, G.R. 1996. New records of reef and shore fishes from northwestern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 18: 109-112 

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. 

Bleeker, P. 1851. Bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van de Banda-eilanden. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch IndiĆ« 2: 225-261 

Bleeker, P. 1862. Synonyma Labroideorum Indo-archipelagicorum hucusque observatorum revisa, adjectis specierum novarum descriptionibus. Verslagen en Mededeelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen (Afdeeling Natuurjunde). Amsterdam 13: 274-308 (as Julis (Halichoeres) hoevenii)

Brothers, E.B., Williams, D.McB. & Sale, P.F. 1983. Length of larval life in twelve families of fishes at 'One Tree Lagoon', Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Marine Biology 76: 319-324.

Cabanban, A., Choat, J.H., Pollard, D. & Myers, R. 2010. Halichoeres melanurus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187677A8598030. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T187677A8598030.en. Downloaded on 12 February 2019.

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 

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

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

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

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

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

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

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 

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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. 

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. 

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2 (as Halichoeres hoeveni)

Victor, B.C. 1986. Duration of the planktonic larval stage of one hundred species of Pacific and Atlantic wrasses (family Labridae). Marine Biology 90(3): 317-326.

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:37384032


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-25 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:11 cm TL

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