Adorned wrasse
  • Halichoeres cosmetus
  • EnglishName: Adorned wrasse
  • Local Name : Nala hikaa
  • Size : Max. 12m
  • Family: LABRIDAE
  • Order : Perciformes
  • Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 11 rays (rarely 12). Anal fin with 3 spines and 11 rays. Pectoral fin with 12-14 rays. Body depth 3.2-4.1 in standard length. Head naked. Scales on chest smaller than those of body.
  • Colour: Females pale pinky orange, striped yellow, small black spots behind the eye; two white rimmed black spots on dorsal fin. Males green with orange stripes anteriorly and bars posteriorly.
  • Habitat and Biology: Found mostly on reef slopes at depths of 2-30 m. Feeds mainly on benthic animals. As far as known, all species of Halichoeres sleep in the sand at night.
  • Distribution: Western Indian Ocean.
  • Remarks: Halichoeres cosmetus is a common wrasse in the Maldives. The name cosmetus from the Greek word meaning adorned, in reference to its brilliant and complex colouration. Related to H. ornatissimus (Garret) of the Pacific.