kiss of death
of another coral dweller
Watch out Angelina and Kim, your alluring pouts are being rivaled by the sweetlips (genus Plectorhinchus, Family Haemulidae).
Apart from various descriptions of the sweetlips’ signature feature, their lips (e.g. rubbery, blubber-like, fleshy), this fish has a few other noteworthy traits.
Juvenile sweetlips can look strikingly different from adults. A juvenile Oriental sweetlips is brown with white splotches. When divers happen upon them as adults, Oriental sweetlips are a stunning meld of black and white stripes accented with spotty yellow fins.
Sweetlips are a common aquarium fish. China cultures three-banded and spotted sweetlips for food. Several species are fished for recreationally in Australia, including the newly described – Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus. This species is known to fishers as the “blue bastard”, on account of its blue colouration in adulthood and how difficult it is to catch. Ironically, this sweetlipped fish also “kisses”.