Thicklip Wrasse, Hemigymnus melapterus Click to enlarge image
An adult male Thicklip Wrasse at a depth of 21 m, Menjangan Island, Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia, 16 October 2007. Image: Ian Shaw
© Ian Shaw

Fast Facts

  • Size Range
    The species grows to about 60 cm in length.


As its standard name implies, adult fish have thick lips.


Adults are grey anteriorly, becoming dark posteriorly. Young fish look quite different to the adults.

Thicklip Wrasse, Hemigymnus melapterus - juvenile
A Juvenile (intermediate phase) Thicklip Wrasse a tank at the Lizard Island Research Station, Queensland, 2013. The fish was somewhere between 3.5 and 7 cm in length. Image: Simon Gingins
© Simon Gingins


The Thicklip Wrasse occurs in the Indo-west Pacific region. In Australia it is recorded from central and north-western Western Australia and from northern Queensland to Sydney, New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.


  1. Kuiter, R.H. 2010. Labridae Fishes: Wrasses. Aquatic Photographics. Pp. 398.
  2. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.