Cheilinus lunulatus

Scientific name Cheilinus lunulatus
Descriptor Forsskål
Year of description 1775
IUCN category LC
Family Labridae
Genus Cheilinus
Cheilinus lunulatus Cheilinus lunulatus


Cheilinus lunulatus is a salt water fish.

Who is it?

Genus Cheilinus

These kinds of fish belong to the Labridae family, more commonly called wrasses. In this family, a phylogenetic study describes two subgroups of the Cheilinini tribe, in which genus Cheilinus is included. This genus is close to Doratonotus, Epibulus, Oxycheilinus and Wetmorella genera. Although most of the species of genus Oxycheilinus were originally classified into the Cheilinus genus, in 2020, only 7 species are officially described as Cheilinus members.

All of these 7 species are predators in coral reefs. The larger species, including humphead wrasses, are on the highest levels of the food chain. These diurnal and territorial fish are easily caught by fishermen and hunters. All species are in danger of extinction.

Their body is moderately compressed, with a length equal or superior to the head. The colored patterns on their bodies often includes distinct vertical bars or marbling, or light sparse spots. Beside the wrasse family, these fishes are regularly confused with parrot fishes, such as Calotomus, Cetoscarus or Scarus fish.

These oviparous fishes form distinct pairs for reproduction. In addition, Cheilinus wrasses are protogynous, meaning that they are born female and then some of them turn into male. While growing, juveniles change color and sometimes patterns too.


  • Average size
    35 cm
  • Maximum size
    45 cm
  • Average size
    35 cm
  • Maximum size
    45 cm

How to recognize Cheilinus lunulatus ?

Cheilinus lunulatus measures between 35 and 45 cm. This fish is tricolore with a predominantly jaune, bleu and vert body.

Behaviour & Life cycle

  • diet
  • Sociability
    living as a couple or alone
  • territorial
  • Way of living

Cheilinus lunulatus is a fish living as a couple or alone naturally found near the bottom. This species is carnivorous .

This species is territorial and does not appreciate the presence of intruders nearby, especially animals with similar behavior. It can also be virulent toward conspecifics. However, Cheilinus lunulatus has little concern for non-territorial animals.


  • Migratory species
  • Hermaphrodite

Cheilinus lunulatus is a fish ovipare qui pond en eau libre. always born female. Growing up, individuals will change sex to become male, this is called successive hermaphroditism of the protogynous type.

Harmless species

This species does not represent any particular threats to humans when encountered in its natural environment.

Where to find it?

What is its habitat?

Natural environment characteristics

  • Temperature
    25 - 30 °C
  • Depth
    2 - 30 m

Biotope presentation

Cheilinus lunulatus is most often found at a depth between 2m and 30m. However, it is not impossible to find this species at other depths.

Species of the same biotope


Not recommended

We do not recommend keeping this species in an aquarium. It has unpredictable needs which, if not met, generate significant stress, potentially leading to a shorter life expectancy, an interruption of its growth or the development of pathogens.

To go further

Species of the same family

To read on the web

Sources & Contributions

Participation & Validation

The Fishipedia team and specialist contributors are committed to providing high-quality content. However, although the information comes from scientific sources or testimonials from specialists, the cards may contain inaccuracies.

Benoit Chartrer

Benoit Chartrer

Bibliographic references

LABRIDAE - FAO Fisheries Synopsis - 1998.

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Template and content © Fishipedia - Unauthorized reproduction without prior request - ISSN 2270-7247 - Last modification 06/06/2023

Scientific partners

Species of the same family

Same genus

Species of the same biotope


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