Thai National Parks

Marine spacies of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Checkerboard wrasse

Binomial name: Halichoeres hortulanus, Bernard Germain de Lacépède, 1801

The checkerboard wrasse, Halichoeres hortulanus, is a species of wrasse native to the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean.


This species can be found from Red Sea to South Africa and eastward to the Line Islands, the Marquesas, and the Tuamotus, and from southern Japan, south to the southern parts of the Great Barrier Reef.


This species sports a checkerboard pattern on its sides; males are greener with a yellow dorsal spot. Small juveniles are black and white, gradually changing with growth to the adult pattern. It can reach 27 cm in total length.


Mainly molluscs, crustaceans, and sea urchins make up its diet.


It is usually found in clear lagoons and on seaward reefs at depths from 1 to 30 m. Juveniles are found at the bottom of surge channels or under ledges. Males are territorial over a large area.

Use by humans

This species is of minor importance to local commercial fisheries and can also be found in the aquarium trade.

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Scientific classification

Halichoeres hortulanus

Common names

  • English:
    • Checkerboard wrasse
    • Four-spot wrasse
    • Rainbowfish
    • Wall wrasse
  • French:
    • Arc en ciel jaune
    • Girelle
    • Girelle échiquier
    • Lalo damier
    • Tamarin


  • Halichoeres centiquadrus, Bernard Germain de Lacépède (1801)
  • Halichoeres centriquadrus, Bernard Germain de Lacépède (1801)
  • Halichoeres hortulans, Bernard Germain de Lacépède (1801)
  • Halichoeres hortulanus centiquadrus, Bernard Germain de Lacépède (1801)
  • Labrus centiquadrus, Bernard Germain de Lacépède (1801)
  • Labrus hortulanus, Bernard Germain de Lacépède (1801)
  • Hemitautoga centiquadrus, Bernard Germain de Lacépède (1801)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Range map of Halichoeres hortulanus in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

Contribute or get help with ID

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