Creature of the Month

 

Oriental Sweetlips
(
Plectorhinchus orientalis)

 

 



 

Along with Grunts, Sweetlips are members of the Haemulidae family.

They are named for their thick lips. You will find the Oriental Sweetlips between 2 and 25 m on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific from East Africa to Samoa. They are usually solitary, but sometimes occur in groups as in our photos. Large for a sweetlips, the Oriental sweetlips grows to 86 cm. 

The Oriental Sweetlips change colour as they grow: youngsters are dark brown with cream blotches progressing to the distinctive black and white stripes and yellow spotted tails of the adults. The fish often shelter under ledges by day and feed at night. They are predators, feeding on other fish and molluscs. 

You can distinguish the Oriental Sweetlips from other sweetlips by the horizontal stripes which go right the way down its body. The stripes on a similar species stop halfway down the body.

 

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