- Humphead Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) is widely distributed on coral reefs and inshore habitats throughout much of the tropical Indo-Pacific , but it is nowhere common. Wherever it is fished , even if only moderately, density quickly declines and it appears now to have disappeared from several locations. It is particularly heavily exploited at the centre of its range in southeastern Asia for the live reef fish trade. Fishery-dependent and trade-related data suggest overall declines of at least 50% over the last 30 years, which qualifies this fish for an Endangered listing. (Ref 100465)
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in Afrikaans:
Common Names in Agutaynen:
Common Names in Austronesian:
Máám, Mamiliporos, Mem, Nippwáyik
Common Names in Austronesian (Other):
Máám, Mamiliporos, Mem, Nippwáyik
Common Names in Bikol:
Common Names in Carolinian:
Máám, Mamiliporos, Mem, Nippw, Nippwáyik
Common Names in Cebuano:
Common Names in Chavacano:
Common Names in Danish:
Common Names in Davawenyo:
Common Names in English:
Blue-Tooth Groper, Double-headed maori wrasse, Double-Headed Parrot-Fish, Giant humphead wrasse, Giant maori wrasse, Giant wrasse, Humhead wrasse, Hump-Headed Maori Wrasse, Hump-Headed Wrasse, Humphead, Humphead Butterflyfish, Humphead maori wrasse, Humphead wrasse, Mam, Maori wrasse, Napoleon Fish, Napoleon Maori-Wrasse, Napoleon wrasse, Napoleonfish, tapiro, Truck wrasse, Undulate wrasse
Common Names in Fijian:
Draudrau, Maori wrasse, Varivoce
Common Names in French:
Kakatoi vareur, Napoleon
Common Names in Fwâi:
Common Names in FwÃ¢i:
Common Names in Gela:
Common Names in German:
Common Names in Gilbertese:
Common Names in Ilokano:
Balaki, Ipus-ipus, Verde verde
Common Names in Italian:
Common Names in Japanese:
Common Names in Jawe:
Common Names in Kiribati:
Common Names in Makassarese:
Common Names in Malay:
Angke, Batu, Bayan, Bayan-bayan, Bebarat, Bechak, Bechok, Ikan becok, Ikan Nepoleon, Kakatua, Kerrapu napoleon, Lingkar karang, Mameng, Mamin, Maming, Napoleon, Nuri, Nuri nuri, Tetarap
Common Names in Malayalam:
Chavarichoran, Thokka, ചവരി ച്ചോരന്, ചാവരിചൊരന്, തൊക്ക, തോക്ക
Common Names in Maldivian:
Maa hulhumbu landaa
Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:
Su Mei, 曲紋唇魚, 曲纹唇鱼, 波紋唇魚, 波纹唇鱼
Common Names in Mapun:
Common Names in Maranao/Samal/Tao Su:
Langkani, Mamin, Mammi, Mamming
Common Names in Maranao/Samal/Tao Sug:
Langkani, Mamin, Mammi, Mamming
Common Names in Misima-Paneati:
Common Names in Nepalese:
Common Names in Nepali:
Common Names in Numee:
Common Names in Other:
Banog, Danlugan, Labayan, Lampalampa, Lubay-lubay, Molmol, Pilo-pilo, Pirat-pirat, Tausay, tupiro, Tupiro iva
Common Names in Palauan:
Mamel, Maml, Ngimer
Common Names in Portuguese:
Bodi, Bodião napoleão
Common Names in Rapa Nui:
Common Names in Rapanui:
Common Names in Samoan:
Lalafi, Malakea, Tagafa
Common Names in Somali:
Common Names in Spanish:
Common Names in Swahili:
Common Names in Swedish:
Common Names in Tagalog:
Bankilan, Bungat, Isdang bato, Labayan, Langkani, Mameng, Maming, Mammi, Mamming
Common Names in Tagbanwa Calamian:
Common Names in Tahitian:
Mara, Papae, Parahirahi
Common Names in Thai:
Pla Napoleon Tua-Poo, Pla Nok-Khun-Thong-Hao-Nok
Common Names in Tobian:
Common Names in Tongan:
Common Names in Tuamotuan:
Maraia, Tamure, tapiro, Tatika
Common Names in Tuvaluan:
Common Names in Vietnamese:
Ca Mo Soc Gon Song
Common Names in Visayan:
Common Names in Waray-waray:
Inhabits steep outer reef slopes , channel slopes , and lagoon reefs. Juveniles are encountered in coral-rich areas of lagoon reefs, where staghorn Acropora corals abound; also in algae reefs or seagrasses. Adults rove across the reefs by day and rest in reef caves and under coral ledges at night. May be found at depths of 1 to 60 meters.
Typically found in water with a depth of 0 to -100 meters (0 to -328 feet).
Biome: Marine .
In one study, small post-settlement humphead wrasses
were found in
a species of seagrass (Enhalys acoroides), four species
of hard coral
(three Acropora spp.
and Porites cylindricus),
and in the soft coral Sarcophyton sp.
(branching form; M
Tupper, pers. comm.
). After settlement
associated with reef or near-reef habitats
of seagrass beds
areas, with juveniles typically inshore
and the largest individuals
found in deeper waters of outer reefs or lagoons
(Myers 1999). Juveniles
of 3–20 cm TL
, and larger, occur in coral-rich areas of lagoon reefs,
particularly among live thickets of staghorn, Acropora spp.
, in seagrass beds, murky outer river
areas with patch reefs
shallow sandy areas adjacent
to coral reef lagoons, and mangrove
and seagrass areas inshore (Randall 1955, Randallet al.
1978, Myers 1999, J.H. Choat, pers. comm.
). Recruitment patterns
may vary considerably between years (M.A. Tupper, unpublished data
Adults are more common offshore than inshore, their presumed preferred
habitat being steep outer reef slopes
, reef drop-offs, reef tops
, reef passes, and lagoon reefs to at least 100 m.
They are usually found in association with well-developed coral reefs
(Vivien 1973, Randall et all. 1978, Winterbottom et
al. 1989, Allen and Swainston 1992, Sluka 2000). Typically they
are solitary or paired
, but have also been noted in groups of 3–7
individuals (Donaldson 1995). They appear to be somewhat sedentary
in that the same individuals, indentifiable by distinct
may be seen along the same stretch
of reef for extended periods.
Indeed, many commercial
dive sites have their ‘resident’ Humphead
Wrasse, a favoured species for divers
. Natural densities are evidently
never high, even in presumed preferred habitats. For example, in
unfished or lightly fished
areas, densities may range
from two to
rarely more than 10–20 individuals per 10,000 m² of suitable reef.
In fished areas, however, densities are typically lower by tenfold
or more, and in some places fish no longer
appear to be present.
Accounts of reproductive activity in the field reveal that, depending on location, this species spawns between several and all months of the year, in small or large groupings, that spawning coincides with certain phases of the tidal cycle, and that groups of spawning fish can form daily, at a range of different reef types. Spawning areas and aggregated adults have been noted regularly along specific sections of reef, sometimes associated with no obvious topographical features, sometimes close to the shelf edge on outer reefs, or adjacent to exposed reef passes near fairly steep drop-offs , or on mid-shelf (unspecified) reefs (P.L. Colin, J.H. Choat, R. Hamilton, S. Oakley, pers. comms.). The species is evidently a daily spawner that probably does not migrate far to its spawning site(s), spawning for extended periods each year, i.e. , a ‘resident’ spawner (Domeier and Colin 1997, P.L. Colin, pers. comm.): groups of up to 150 fish were observed in Palau along the shelf edge in a loose aggregation.
Probable spawning aggregations have also been noted on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Fiji, New Caledonia, and in the Solomon Islands. Although spawning was not always observed, aggregated fish were ripe , or exhibiting behaviour likely associated with spawning. On the GBR, aggregations of up to 10 large males and 20–50 smaller fish (35–95 cm TL) were noted (J.H. Choat, pers. comm.). GBR aggregations from the Ribbon Reefs and north of Jewell Reef, once noted to include hundreds of fish, are no longer known at the same sites (Johannes and Squire 1988, L. Squire, pers. comm.).
The longevity of this species is up to at least 32 years, with females outliving the males (the oldest female recorded was 32 years), and sexual maturity is reached at about eight years of age (Choat in Pogonosky et al. 2002). Histological studies show that sexual maturation is reached at a size of between 40 cm and 60 cm total length (Sadovy, unpublished data). This species is thought to be a protogynous hermaphrodite, with sex reversal occurring at about 15 years of age (Choat in Pogonosky et al. 2002). At a total length of approximately 111 cm (Lau and Li 2000). Males grow very rapidly (Choat in Pogonosky et al. 2002).
It feeds on a variety of molluscs , fishes , sea urchins, crustaceans and other invertebrates (Randall et al. 1997)..
List of Habitats:
- 9 Marine Neritic
- 9.1 Marine Neritic - Pelagic
- 9.8 Marine Neritic - Coral Reef
- 9.9 Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged) [more info]
The species is hermaphroditic , changing sex from female to male. The sex ratio of samples and fish observed in the field is female biased. Under IUCN criteria for mature individuals , there should be a correction made to factor in the sex bias which effectively reduces substantially the estimates of fish numbers included in this assessment .
Usually solitary but may occur in pairs. Adults are known to occur largely on outer reef areas , often in association with channels and passes. Spawning aggregation sites have been reported from outer reef areas.
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Bateson, 1885
- Cuvier, 1812
- Jawed Vertebrates
- Huxley, 1880
- Huxley, 1880
- Subclass: Actinopterygii ()
- Class: Osteichthyes () - Huxley, 1880
- Superclass: Osteichthyes () - Huxley, 1880
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata () - auct. - Jawed Vertebrates
- Subphylum: Vertebrata () - Cuvier, 1812 - Vertebrates
- Phylum: Chordata () - Bateson, 1885 - Chordates
- Infrakingdom: Chordonia () - (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Deuterostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Cheilinus undulatus Rueppell 1835 • Chelinus undulatus • Chelinus undulatus Rüppell, 1835
Status: Accepted Name
First described: Rüppell, E. Neue Wirbelthiere zu der Fauna von Abyssinien gehörig, entdeckt und beschrieben. Amphibien. S. Schmerber, Frankfurt a. M. , 1835.
Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 08-Feb-1997
Members of the genus Cheilinus
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 16 species and subspecies in this genus:
C. abudjubbe (Abudjubbes Splendor Wrasse) · C. arenatus (Speckled Maori Wrasse) · C. bimaculatus (Twospot Maori Wrasse) · C. chlorourus (Floral Wrasse) · C. chlorurus (White-Dotted Maori Wrasse) · C. fasciatus (Scarlet-Breasted Maori Wrasse) · C. hexataenia (Sixstripe Wrasse) · C. lunulatus (Broomtail Wrasse) · C. mentalis (Mental Wrasse) · C. nigropinnatus (Yellow-Banded Possum Wrasse) · C. orientalis (Oriental Maori Wrasse) · C. oxycephalus (Pointed Head Maori Wrasse) · C. oxyrhynchus (Eared Maori Wrasse) · C. trilobatus (Tripletail Wrasse) · C. undulatus (Double-Headed Maori Wrasse) · C. unifasciatus (Tail-Band Maori Wrasse)
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- ... The genera of fishes. .. A contribution to the stability of scientific nomenclature. By David Starr Jordan. Stanford University, Calif., The University, 1917-1920. url p. 199.
- An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Chagos Archipelago, Central Indian Ocean / Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 1989. url , p. 52.
- Bulletin - United States National Museum. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, [etc.];1877-1971. url , , p. 157, p. 199, p. 343, p. 352, p. 365.
- Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries. Washington, D.C.: Govt. Print. Off., 1905-1950. url p. 309.
- Coral Reefs of the World. url p. 246, p. 341.
- Dean bibliography of fishes. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1971-1973. url p. 224, p. 462, p. 464.
- Fishery bulletin / U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service. Washington, D.C.: The Service: url p. 204, p. 221, p. 237, p. 245, p. 248, p. 537.
- Fishery circular / U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Fisheries. [Washington]: The Bureau, 1931-1939. url p. 34, p. 99.
- Fishery leaflet / United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. Washington, D.C.: The Service, url p. 10.
- Fishes of Guam, Hawaii, Samoa, and Tahiti. Honolulu, Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1925. url p. 15.
- Fishes of Zanzibar: Acanthopterygii / by R. Lambert Playfair; Pharyngognathi etc. / by Albert C. L. G. Günther. London: J. Van Voorst, 1866. url p. 88.
- IUCN Directory of Afrotropical Protected Areas IUCN, UNEP url p. 1015, p. 808.
- In the field: the bulletin of the Field Museum of Natural History. Chicago, IL: Field Museum of Natural History, c1990- url p. 16.
- Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy, at Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass. Cambridge [Mass.]: The Museum, 1876-1940. url p. 141, p. 303.
- NOAA technical report NMFS SSRF. Seattle, Wash.: National Marine Fisheries Service; url p. 21.
- Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 4th series. San Francisco, California Academy of Sciences. url p. 369.
- Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. Sydney, Linnean Society of New South Wales. url p. 52.
- Supplement to The fishes of India: being a natural history of the fishes known to inhabit the seas and fresh waters of India, Burma, and Ceylon / by Francis Day. London: Williams and Norgate, 1888. url p. 813.
- The Biological bulletin. Woods Hole, Mass.: Marine Biological Laboratory, url p. 139.
- The Natural history of Enewetak Atoll / edited by Dennis M. Devaney. .. [et al.]; prepared by Office of Scientific and Technical Information, U.S. Department of Energy. Oak Ridge, Tenn.: U.S. Dept. of Energy, Office of Energy Research, Office of Health and Environmental Research, Ecological Research Division, c1987. url p. 124, p. 304, p. 323.
- The fishes of Samoa. Description of the species found in the Archipelago, with a provisional check-list of the fishes of Oceania. [By David Starr Jordan and Alvin Seale]. .. 1906 Washington, Government print off., 1906. url p. 309.
- The fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. .. by Dr. Max Weber. .. and Dr. L.F. de Beaufort. Leiden, E.J. Brill, Ltd., 1911- url p. 124.
- The shore fishes / by William C. Kendall and Lewis Radcliffe; with eight plates. 35 1912 Cambridge, U.S.A.: Printed for the Museum, 1912. url p. 141.
- World Atlas of Coral Reefs UNEP-WCMC url p. 42.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed January 9, 2012.
- IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. . Downloaded on January 28, 2012.
- Russell, B. 2004. Cheilinus undulatus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloadedon 31January2012.
Accessed through GBIF Data Portal March 01, 2008:
- FishBase: FishBase DiGIR Provider - Philippine Server
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University: AIMS - Baited Remote Underwater Video Station (OBIS Australia)
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University: AIMS LTM Fish (OBIS Australia)
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University: South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity - Fish Collection (AfrOBIS)
- Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History: Vertebrate specimens
- Museum national d'histoire naturelle: Ichtyologie
- Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University: MCZ Fish Collection
- National Chemical Laboratory: IndOBIS, Indian Ocean Node of OBIS
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 123538
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Fis-31463
- Fishbase Species ID: 5604
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 13740291
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 170619
- IUCN ID: 199475
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 432
- Myers, R.F. (1991). Micronesian reef fishes. Second Ed. Coral Graphics, Barrigada, Guam. 298 p. [back]
- Kuiter, R. H. and Tonozuka (2001). Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 2. Fusiliers - Dragonets, Caesionidar - Callionymidae. Zoonetics, Australia. 304-622 p. [back]
- Johannes, R.E. and M. Riepen (1995). Environmental, economic and social implications of the live reef fish trade in Asia and the Western Pacific. Report funded by The Nature Conservancy, the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency and Pew Scholarship in [back]
- Mean = 28.730 meters (94.259 feet), Standard Deviation = 44.850 based on 139,225 observations. Ocean depth information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
- Russell, B. 2004. Cheilinus undulatus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 31 January 2012. [back]