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Cheilinus undulatus  Rüppell, 1835

Humphead wrasse
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| Native range | All suitable habitat | PointMap | Year 2100 |
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Cheilinus undulatus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Cheilinus undulatus (Humphead wrasse)
Cheilinus undulatus
Picture by Honeycutt, K.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Labridae (Wrasses) > Cheilininae
Etymology: Cheilinus: Greek, cheilos = lip (Ref. 45335).   More on author: Rüppell.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 100 m (Ref. 58652).   Tropical; 30°N - 23°S

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 52 - ? cm
Max length : 229 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9823); common length : 60.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5450); max. published weight: 191.0 kg (Ref. 9710); max. reported age: 32 years (Ref. 51676)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 8. Adults of this species develop thick lips and a prominent bulbous hump on the forehead. Juveniles pale greenish with elongate dark spots on scales tending to form bars; 2 black lines posteriorly from eye (Ref. 4392).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions | Faunafri

Indo-Pacific: Red Sea to South Africa (Ref. 35918) and to the Tuamoto Islands, north to the Ryukyu Islands, south to New Caledonia. Formerly known as Vulnerable (A1d+2cd) (Y. Sadovy) but now listed as Endangered in IUCN 2004 and listed in Appendix II of CITES.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Inhabit steep outer reef slopes, channel slopes, and lagoon reefs (Ref. 1602). Benthopelagic at 2-60 m (Ref. 58302). Usually solitary but may occur in pairs. Juveniles are encountered in coral-rich areas of lagoon reefs, where staghorn Acropora corals abound (Ref. 1602); also in algae reefs or seagrasses (Ref. 48636, 41878). Adults rove across the reefs by day and rest in reef caves and under coral ledges at night (Ref. 31343). Primary food are mollusks, fishes, sea urchins, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. One of the few predators of toxic animals such as sea hares, boxfishes and crown-of-thorns starfish (Ref. 1602). Oviparous, distinct pairing during breeding (Ref. 205). Found in Hong Kong live fish markets (Ref. 27253).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Westneat, Mark | Collaborators

Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen and R.C. Steene, 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 506 p.

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)

Threat to humans

  Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 5374)




Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: commercial
FAO(fisheries: production; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on empirical models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5078   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01740 (0.01088 - 0.02782), b=3.00 (2.86 - 3.14), based on LWR estimates for species & Subfamily-BS (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.0   ±0.61 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (tm = 5-7; tmax = 32).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  High to very high vulnerability (74 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Very high.