Thicklip wrasse
  • Hemigymnus melapterus
  • EnglishName: Thicklip wrasse
  • Local Name : Kalhali thunboa hikaa
  • Size : Max. 50 cm
  • Family: LABRIDAE
  • Order : Perciformes
  • Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 11 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 11 rays. Pectoral fin with 14 rays. Total gill rakers 26-29. Body depth 2.4-2.7 in standard length. Lips very thick and fleshy, the lower deeply incised in median line. Caudal fin slightly rounded.
  • Colour: Head and anterior body light grey. The upper half of head with irregular, blue edged pink bands. Most of body dark purplish, the edges of scales black with a curved vertical pale blue lines or spots on each scale. Median fins dark purplish with fine blue markings. Juveniles with white bands preceding black posterior half and with yellow caudal fin.
  • Habitat and Biology: Found more in protected reefs than exposed reefs at depths up to 20 m. Feeds primarily on small crustaceans, molluscs and echinoderms.
  • Distribution: Indo-Pacific.
  • Remarks: Hemigymnus melapterus, like H. fasciatus, feeds on invertebrates which it sorts out from mouthfuls of sand. This species is common and wide-ranging on Maldivian reefs.