Animal Species:Spotted Sweetlips, Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides Lacépède, 1801
As its common name implies, the Spotted Sweetlips can be recognised by its spotted pattern that alters with growth.
Standard Common Name
Harlequin Sweetlips, Many-spotted Sweetlips
Juvenile Harlequin Sweetlips under 7-8cm in length, are brown with large dark-edged, white spots (see bottom image). They swim with the head pointing down and with exaggerated fin movements resulting in an undulating motion. At this size the Harlequin Sweetlips is believed to be a nudibranch or flatworm mimic (see video). As juveniles grow, the brown base colour disappears and dark brown spots develop. Adults are white with dark brown spots on the body and fins.
The species grows to 60cm in length.
This species is occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West Pacific.
In Australia it is known from north-western Western Australia and the Great Barrier Reef.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
Juveniles live in lagoons, but adults live in deeper water and are often observed under ledges or in caves.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Tags fishes, ichthyolgoy, Spotted Sweetlips, Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides, dots/spots, Harlequin Sweetlips, Many-spotted Sweetlips, brown, white spots, swim head down, adults white with brown spots, juveniles brown with white spots, brown spots, 30 cm - 1 m, tropical water, marine, Great Barrier Reef, lagoon, deepsea, caves,