Little Maori Wrasse, Oxycheilinus bimaculatus (Valenciennes 1840)

Other Names: Little Maori, Little Maori-Wrasse, Twospot Maori Wrasse, Two-spot Maori Wrasse

A Twospot Maori Wrasse, Oxycheilinus bimaculatus, at Fly Point, Port Stephens, New South Wales, November 2016. Source: Erik Schlogl / License: CC BY Attribution-NonCommercial

A variably coloured wrasse ranging from a mottled brown to reddish, yellow or green, mixed with other colours, spots and blotches, and bluish spot at the front of the dorsal fin. Juveniles have a broad, dark mid-lateral stripe that breaks into dark blotches in adults, the largest above the pectoral-fin tip. Males develop elongate filaments on the tail.

Video of a Little Maori Wrasse

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2016, Oxycheilinus bimaculatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Jul 2020,

Little Maori Wrasse, Oxycheilinus bimaculatus (Valenciennes 1840)

More Info


Scott Reef, Western Australia to Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to at least Jervis Bay, New South Wales; also Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west-central Pacific, from east Africa and the Red Sea to the Hawaiian Islands and the Marquesas, north to Japan and south to Australia.
Inhabits clear lagoon and outer reef slopes, amongst rubble and sandy areas, or amongst algae; also occurs in estuaries and harbours. Although secretive, Little Maori Wrasse are relatively common in parts of their range.


Dorsal fin IX, 10-11; Anal fin III, 8. 
Mouth terminal or lower jaw slightly projecting. Caudal fin of terminal males rhomboid, with central rays longest, and dorsal-most caudal-fin ray elongated into a short filament.


Body variable in colour from brown to reddish, yellow or green mixed with various shades and spots. Juveniles have a broad, dark lateral stripe which breaks into dark blotches in adults, the largest above distal pectoral fins. A small dark spot behind eye. 

Species Citation

Cheilinus bimaculatus Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1840, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 14: 96. Type locality: Hawaiian Islands.


Bray, D.J. 2016


Australian Faunal Directory

Little Maori Wrasse, Oxycheilinus bimaculatus (Valenciennes 1840)


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

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

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

Francis, M.P. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp.

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. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

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

Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. 330 pp. 

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.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. 557 pp.

To, A., Liu, M., Rocha, L. & Craig, M. 2010. Oxycheilinus bimaculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187523A8557703. Downloaded on 24 September 2016.

Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1840. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 14 464 pp. pls 389-420.

Westneat, M.W. 1993. Phylogenetic relationships of the tribe Cheilinini (Labridae: Perciformes). Bulletin of Marine Science 52(1): 351-394.

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:37384063

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-110 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated, sand, rubble, seagrass

Max Size:15 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map