Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Labridae
(Wrasses) > Cheilininae
Etymology: Epibulus: Greek, epi = over, in front + Greek, boleo = to throw (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 42 m (Ref. 9710). Tropical; 30°N - 30°S
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 54.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9823)
(total): 9 - 10;
soft rays: 8 - 9. The mouth of this species is protrusible and unfolds into a tube easily half the body length. The jaws swing forward into a long tube that strong suction to catch prey. When not in use, the entire apparatus is conveniently folded under the head. Small juveniles are brown with thin white bars and closely resemble a species of Wetmorella. Color varies with age and sex, but adult color varies additional, including with an all-yellow xanthic form. Sub adults and females are brown or, not uncommonly, uniformly yellow. Terminal males are dark with a white head and a dark streak extending horizontally through the eye. Male becomes ornamented with orange and yellow over the back. Juveniles dark with fine vertical white lines. Intermediates with yellow blotches, pale tail and sometimes with black pectoral fins (Ref. 48636).
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea to South Africa (Ref. 35918) and the Hawaiian and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan, south to New Caledonia.
Inhabit coral-rich areas of lagoon and seaward reefs (Ref. 1602, 58302). Benthopelagic (Ref. 58302). Generally solitary (Ref. 5213). Feed on small coral-dwelling crustaceans and fishes (Ref. 9710). Capable of drift migration along with floating leaves (Ref. 27153). Adults usually along deep slopes or drop-offs. Sometimes they visit cleaning stations holding their mouth open and out for inspection (Ref. 48636).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Males have been observed patrolling their mating territory (see Ref. 27152). Protogyny was proposed but not confirmed (Ref. 103751).
Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen and R.C. Steene, 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 506 p. (Ref. 2334)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 4690)
Fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.7500 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01380 (0.00670 - 0.02842), b=3.01 (2.82 - 3.20), based on LWR estimates for this species & Subfamily-body sh (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.0 ±0.66 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High vulnerability (61 of 100) .