Cheilinus trilobatus   Lacepede,  1801 (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: John E. Randall

Size: 39-45 cm.

Color: Greenish brown. Three or four dark brown blotches on sides of body between pectoral and caudal in juveniles. Four white to pink streaks from eye to maxillary and corner of mouth and one obliquely below eye. Pink to whitish spots on head sometimes extending to anterior part of body. Dorsal and anal generally greenish brown; scales of body with 1-3 white vertical lines. Dorsal and anal greenish with white spots. Caudal greenish brown, posterior border lighter. Pectoral pale. Ventral greenish.

Height 2.3-2.6, 2.8-3.4 in length with caudal. Head 2.6-2.9, 3.2-3.6 in length with caudal. Eye 4.6-6.1, 1.3-2 in snout and 1-1.5 in slightly convex inter orbital space. Jaws equal. Chin slightly prominent. Lips thick. Mouth oblique. Maxillary not reaching to below front border of eye. Conical teeth in a single row in the jaws, with two canines anteriorly in each jaw. Teeth white. Preopercle smooth, with two transverse rows of scales, the lower limb and a narrow part of the posterior limb naked. Scales on head beginning above middle of eyes. Six or seven rows of scales before dorsal. Dorsal spine short but strong, slightly increasing in size posteriorly, the membranes between the spines deeply incised, more so in young specimens the membranes are not incised. Soft dorsal higher than spinous part, rounded in young, pointed in adults. Origin of anal below 8th dorsal spine. First anal spine shortest, third longest, about equal to last dorsal spine. Soft anal similar to soft dorsal. Scaly sheath of dorsal and anal well developed. Pectorals rounded, equal to post orbital part of head or somewhat longer. Ventrals with the first ray produced in adults, half diameter of snout shorter than head. Caudal rounded in young, in specimens above 200m the fin is pointed and the marginal rays much produced. Large adults of this species have trilobed caudal fins. Dorsal spines (total): 9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 8.

Usually solitary, difficult to approach. Juveniles secretive on algae reefs and usually around stinging hydrozoans.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Cheilinus abudjubbe (non Ruppell, 1835)
(Misapplied name)
Cheilinus chlorourus (non Bloch, 1791)
(Misapplied name)
Cheilinus trilobatus Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1839
Cheilinus trilobatus Bleeker, 1862
Cheilinus trilobatus Bleeker, 1849
Cheilinus tetrazona Bleeker, 1853
Cheilinus trilobatus Gunther, 1866
Chilinus trilobatus Klunzinger, 1871
Chilinus trilobatus Gunther, 1881
Chilinus trilobatus Kossmann and Rauber, 1876
Chilinus trilobatus Day, 1877
Cheilinus trilobatus Jordan and Evermann, 1905
Cheilinus trilobatus Jordan and Seale, 1907
Cheilinus trilobatus Fowler and Bean, 1922
Cheilinus trilobatus Fowler, 1928
Cheilinus trilobatus P. Schmidt, 1930
Chelilinus trilobatus Fowler, 1932
Cheilinus trilobatus Herre, 1936
Cheilinus trilobatus Fowler, 1938
Cheilinus trilobatus Lacepede, 1802
Chelinus trilobatus Lacepede, 1801

Common Name (s)
• Tripletail Wrasse (English)
• Chavarichoran (Malayalam)
• Thokka (Malayalam)
• Triple-tailed Wrasse
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries, marketed fresh, aquarium, Ornamental fish)

Habitat:  Reef Associated, Estuarine, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Mollusks, benthic crustaceans, fishes


• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti Atoll (Lat: 10.55) (Long: 72.63) INDIA (Record: 01/1991-06/1992)
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andamans INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Amini INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Andrott INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Bitra INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Chettalatt INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kadamatt INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kalpeni INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kilttan INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Suheli INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin Coast INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Suheli Par INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Amini Island (Lat: 11.08) (Long: 72.75) INDIA (Record: 03/1954)
• Palk Bay INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Tinnakara INDIA (Record: 09/02/1987-25/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA (Record: 09/02/1987-25/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti INDIA (Record: 06/03/1987-01/04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Kalpeni INDIA (Record: 06/03/1987-01/04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA (Record: 06/03/1987-01/04/1987)
• Lakshadweep Islands INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)
• Tamil Nadu, Kilakarai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Pamban INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Vedalai INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy Island (Lat: 8.11) (Long: 73.3) INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Anand, PEV and Pillai, NGK (2005) Community organization of coral reef fishes in the rubble sub-habitat of Kavaratti Atoll, Lakshadweep, India Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin, India 47(1) 77-82 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Encyclopedia of Life Available at -
  • Anand, PEV and Pillai, NGK (2003) Habitat distribution and species diversity of coral reef fishes in the reefslope of the Kavaratti atoll, Lakshadweep, India Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 45(1) 88-98 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Beaufort, LF (1940) The fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago A. J. Reprints agency, Karol Bagh, New Delhi 8 508 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1980) Fishes of the Laccadive Archipelago The Nature Conservation and Aquatic Sciences Service, Trivandrum, Kerala 760 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 2 Available at -
  • Kumar, RR and Edward, JKP (2005) Comparative study on the fish assemblages in natural and artificial reefs in Tuticorin, Gulf of Mannar, Southeast coast of India Proceedings of the National Seminar on Reef Ecosystem Remediation SDMRI Special Research Publication No.9 99-104 Available at -
  • Jones, S. (1969) Catalogue of fishes from the Laccadive Archipelago in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 8 1-35 Available at -
  • Balan, V (1958) Notes on a visit to certain islands of the Laccadive Archipelago, with special reference to fisheries Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society Bombay Natural History Society 55 (2) 297-306 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (1996) Marine ornamental fishes of India Proceedings of the Seminar on Fisheries - A Multibillion Dollar Industry, Madras CMFRI 23-34 Available at -
  • Kumaran, M; Murty, VS and Lalmohan, RS (1989) Resources of ornamental fishes Marine living resources of the union territory of Lakshadweep: An indicative survey with suggestions for development Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI 43 46-64 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (2002) Marine ornamental fish resources of Lakshadweep CMFRI Special Publication CMFRI 72 1-134 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (1969) Catalogue of fishes (excluding from the Laccadives) in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 10 1-38 Available at -
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1959) The fishing industry of Minicoy Island with special reference to the tuna fishery Indian Journal of Fisheries Indian Council of Agricultural Research 6 (1) 30-57 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (2001) Ornamental fish resources of Lakshadweep Bulletins of the Geological Survey of India 56 103-111 Available at -
  • Talwar, PK (1990) Fishes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: A synoptic survey Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 6(2) 71-102 Available at - NIO,Goa
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -

Page last updated on:2011-12-05

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