15 photos 9 species


 There are 3 genera and almost 40 species.

They are nocturnal hunters and prey on various small animals in the reef and neighbouring sand flats.

They are often strikingly coloured with a white and yellow base and fins and yellow with black longitudinal stripes and dots.

The juveniles of many species are completely different in colour.

Depending on the species, they can grow to between 35 cm and over 1 metre in length.

Diagramma pictum

Painted sweetlips, Australian slately, Blackall, Bluey, Moke,

Morwong, Grey sweetlips, Mother-in-law fish, Painted blubber-lips,

Slate sweetlips, Smokey bream, Thicklip or Yelowdot sweetlips

Initial phase
Initial phase

 Maximum adult length: 90 cm

Depth: 3 - 40 m

Juvelins have a black and white longitudinal stripe pattern.

Sub-adults are creamy yellow, their stripes begin to dissolve into patches.

Adults are silver-light grey and are usually found in lagoons and outer reefs, mostly over patch reefs with sandy areas.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides

Harlequin sweetlips, Clown sweetlips, Spotted sweetlips

or Max-spotted sweetlips

Initial phase
Initial phase

 Maximum length: 60 cm

Depth: 8 - 35 m

Often seen in small schools.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Photo 2 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Photo 3 Johnny: Embudu Maldives

Plectorhinchus flavomaculatus


 Maximum length: 60 cm

Depth: 1 - 100 m

Juveline sweetlips are found in inlets and even harbours, adults live in muddy reefs at moderate depths. 

Photo 1 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi

Plectorhinchus gibbosus

Harry hotlips, Black sweetlips, Brown sweetlips, Dusky sweetlips, 

Gibbous sweetlips, Hairy hotlips or Humpback sweetlips

 Maximum length: 45 cm

Depth: 3 - 35 m

Most of the common sweetlips of the Red Sea hide under corals during the day.

As the name suggests: black spots on the body.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Plectorhinchus lineatus

Yellowbanded sweetlips, Oblique-banded sweetlips, Diagonal -

banded sweetlips, Goldman's sweetlips, Lined blubber-lips, Lined sweetlips, Many-lined sweetlips or Yellowband sweetlips

 Maximum length: 60 cm

Depth: 3 - 35 m

In some areas they form large schools along drop-offs.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi

Photo 1 Johnny: Bali Indonesia

Plectorhinchus obscurus

Giant sweetlips

 Maximum length: 1 m

Depth: 8 - 50 m

Adult fish usually hover over the reefs in small groups during the day.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bali Indonesia

Plectorhinchus polytaenia

Ribboned sweetlips, Tesone di mare or Yellow-ribbon sweetlips


 Maximum length: 50 cm

Depth: 5 - 30 m

Also together with similar species in groups.

The number of stripes increases with age.

Photos 1 - 2 ( juveniles ) Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi

Photo 3 Johnny: Bali Indonesia

Plectorhinchus sordidus

Sordid rubberlip


Maximum length: 30 cm

Depth: 2 - 25 m

Silver-grey, yellowish eye.

At home near seagrass meadows in rock and coral reefs.

Juvenile, yellow with white lines.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt 

Plectorhinchus vittatus

Indian ocean oriental sweetlips, Oriental sweetlips

or Oriental blubberlips

 Maximum length: 50 cm

Depth: 2 - 40 m

Often travelling in schools on coastal and inner reefs.

Juveniles singly between boulders at shallow depths.

Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives