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Temporal range: 23–0 Ma
Miocene to Present[1]
Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides.jpg
Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Haemulidae
Genus: Plectorhinchus
Lacépède, 1801
Type species
Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides
Lacépède, 1801

Euelatichthys Fowler, 1904
Gaterin Forsskål, 1775
Leitectus Smith, 1952
Pluchus Smith, 1949
Pseudohelotes Guimarães, 1882
Pseudopristipoma Sauvage, 1880
Spilotichthys Fowler, 1904

Plectorhinchus is a genus of grunts, the sweetlips, found in fresh, brackish, and salt waters.

Description and characteristics[edit]

These fish have big, fleshy lips and tend to live on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific in small groups or pairs. They will often associate with other fishes of similar species; several species of sweetlips sometimes swim together. They are usually seen in clusters in nooks and crannies or under overhangs. At nightfall, they venture from their shelters to seek out their bottom-dwelling invertebrate prey, such as bristleworms, shrimps, and small crabs.

Sweetlips colouring and patterning changes throughout their lives. For example, Plectorhinchus polytaenia develops more stripes with age. Juvenile sweetlips generally look quite different from the adults, and often live solitary lives on shallower reef sections. Juveniles may be banded or spotted and are usually a completely different colour from the adults of their species. Small juveniles have an undulating swimming pattern, possibly mimicking poisonous flatworms as a means of predator avoidance.[2][3]

Juvenile Plectorhinchus lessonii off Taiwan


There are currently 31 recognized species in this genus:


  1. ^ Sepkoski, J. (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology, 364: 560. 
  2. ^ Debelius, H. Asia Pacific Reef Guide. 2001. ISBN 3-925919-56-2
  3. ^ Debelius, H. Indian Ocean Reef Guide. 2001. ISBN 978-3-931702-67-0
  4. ^ a b c Johnson, J.W. & Worthington Wilmer, J. (2015): Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus, a new species of sweetlips (Perciformes: Haemulidae) from northern Australia and the resurrection of P. unicolor (Macleay, 1883), species previously confused with P. schotaf (Forsskål, 1775). Zootaxa, 3985 (4): 491–522.