Ophthalmolepis lineolata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Labridae

Scientific Name: Ophthalmolepis lineolata (Valenciennes, 1839)
Common Name(s):
English Butcher’s prick, Maori wrasse, Slippery dick, Southern Maori wrasse
Julis lineolatus Valenciennes, 1838
Julis lineolatus Valenciennes, 1838
Ophthalmolepis lineolatus (Valenciennes, 1839)
Ophthalmolepis lineolatus (Valenciennes, 1839)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-06-12
Assessor(s): Russell, B., Fairclough, D. & Pollard, D.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Carpenter, K.E.
This species is widely distributed in southern Australia and common throughout its range. It is a relatively large species and is common on rocky bottoms in depths to about 60 m. Although fished recreationally and commercially, and is a bycatch of giant crab and rock lobster trap fishery, no species-specific catch data are available. Overall, this species does not appear to be threatened and is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found in temperate Australia, from Byron Bay in northern New South Wales, to Victoria, South Australia, and to the Houtman-Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia.
Countries occurrence:
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):60
Upper depth limit (metres):2
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is rare in the Bass Strait region, but common and widespread elsewhere over its range.

It has a continuous distribution in southern Western Australia. Semi-quantitative underwater visual census (UVC, timed swims) of Hutchins (2001) found O. lineolatus to be frequent or abundant on the mid west coast (Port Denison) southwards and eastwards to Esperance (34°S,122°E) in Western Australia. Quantitative UVC (measured transects) within the Jurien Bay Marine Park (ca 30-31°S, 115°E) confirmed this species to be relatively abundant at that location (Fairclough et al. in prep).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:A relatively large species, to about 400 mm TL. It inhabits mainly deeper offshore reefs in depths to about 60 m.

Adults often aggregate in large numbers, juveniles more solitary in harbours and estuaries (Kuiter 2002). On the east coast of Australia, spawning occurs from January-March, sexual maturity is reached after second (2.1) year at 185 mm TL, with rapid growth to about 300 mm TL in 6 years, longevity is at least 13.8 years (Morton et al. 2008a). It is a protogynous hermaphrodite, sexually dichromatic, sex change occurs at about 295 mm TL (Morton et al. 2008a). It feeds mainly on polychaetes, polyplacophorans, marginellid gastropods (especially Austroginella sp.), bivalves and echinoids (Morton et al. 2008b).

On the mid-west coast of Western Australia, spawning occurs between September and February, and maturity of females occurs when at least three years of age and at 181 mm TL (L50). Males have small testes relative to most gonochorists, suggesting pair-spawning activity is likely, as for many labrids. Protogyny confirmed on the west coast, sex change occurring at 254 mm (L50) and 7.1 years (A50). Maximum age recorded of 10.4 years (Lek et al. in prep.).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is utilized as food. Recreational fishers in Western Australia often use wrasse as bait, when caught incidentally, for larger target species. There is some evidence that recreational fishers are beginning to retain this species for food, as a result of declines in the stocks of typically targeted species (Harvey 2004).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is captured in recreational fishing (Steffe et al. 1996, Henry and Lyle 2003, Kennelly and McVea 2003) and also sold commercially (Sydney Fish Market 2005) in NSW. It is also a non-target bycatch species of rock lobster and giant crab fishery (South Australia).

It is likely to be bycatch species of West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery in Western Australia (although labrids are reported as one group, i.e. wrasse). Ophthalmolepis lineolatus suffers from barotrauma-related injuries and does not survive well after capture in waters > 10 m.

On the west coast of Australia, a substantial increase in the number of wrasse released by boat-based recreational fishers in a 2005/06 survey by Sumner et al. (2008) may be related to the increase in human population size since the last survey in 1996/97. While there is some evidence that recreational fishers are retaining more wrasse than previously (Harvey 2004), Sumner et al. (2008) indicate that the number retained has declined since 1996/97. Stock assessments of indicator species (includes other large target species) on the west coast of Western Australia demonstrate that overfishing of those species is occurring in this region (Wise et al. 2007). There is potential for increases in the catches of labrids such as O. lineolatus to compensate. Fisheries of moderate-sized wrasse species in South Australia for a live reef fish trade saw rapid declines in stock when unmanaged (Smith et al. 2003).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no specific conservation measures in place for this species. Its distribution overlaps several marine protected areas within its range. However, non-fishing areas within MPAs typically represent a relatively small proportion of the area of those MPAs. Furthermore, trophic linkages to this species are relatively poorly understood and thus flow on effects of protection afforded to its predators by those “no fishing” zones is unknown. The West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery (in Western Australia) has recently undergone restructuring to become a managed commercial fishery. Changes to the management of the commercial fishery and restrictions to the recreational sector aim to reduce effort in the fishery by 50 % and reduce catches overall by a similar amount.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.7. Marine Neritic - Macroalgal/Kelp

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Sport hunting/specimen collecting
 National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Henry, G.W., and Lyle, J.M. 2003. The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey. NSW Fisheries Final Report Series: 48. Fisheries Research & Development Corporation and the Fisheries Action Program, Canberra, Australia.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.4). Available at: (Accessed: 27 October 2010).

Kennelly, S., and McVea, T. 2003. Status of fisheries resources 2001/2002. NSW Fisheries, Cronulla Fisheries Centre, Cronulla, Australia.

Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Fairy and rainbow wrasses and their relatives – a comprehensive guide to selected labrids. TMC Publishing, Chorleywood, UK.

Morton, B. 1979. The ecology of the Hong Kong seashore. In: B.S. Morton (ed.), The Future of the Hong Kong Seashore, pp. 99-123. Oxford University Press.

Morton, J.K. 2007. The ecology of three species of wrasse (Pisces: Labridae) on temperate rocky reefs of New South Wales, Australia. Faculty of Science and Information Technology, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle.

Morton, J.K., Gladstone, W. Hughes, J.M. and Stewart, J. 2008. Comparison of the life histories of three co-occurring wrasses (Teleostei: Labridae) in coastal waters of south-eastern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 59(7): 560-574.

Morton, J.K.. Platell, M.E. and Gladstone, W. 2008b.. Differences in feeding ecology among three co-occurring species of wrasse (Teleostei: Labridae) on rocky reefs of temperate Australia. Marine Biology 154: 577–592.

Russell, B.C. 1988. Revision of the labrid fish genus Pseudolabrus and allied genera. Records of the Australian Museum. Supplement 9: 1-72.

Steffe,A. S., Murphy, J. J., Chapman,D. J.,Tarlinton, B. E., Gordon, G.N. G., and Grinberg, A. 1996. An assessment of the impact of offshore recreational fishing in New South Wales waters on the management of commercial fisheries. Final Report, FRDC Project No. 94/053. NSW Fisheries Research Institute, Cronulla, Australia.

Sydney Fish Market. 2005. Monthly price report result. Available at: (Accessed: 03 May).

Citation: Russell, B., Fairclough, D. & Pollard, D. 2010. Ophthalmolepis lineolata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187409A8527955. . Downloaded on 21 June 2018.
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