Harlequin sweetlips
  • Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides
  • EnglishName: Harlequin sweetlips
  • Local Name : Galu guruva
  • Size : Max. 65 cm
  • Family: HAEMULIDAE
  • Order : Perciformes
  • Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 13 spines and 18-19 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 8 rays. Gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch less than 25. Lips fleshy, moderately swollen with age. Scales etenoid (rough to touch). Height of soft dorsal fin about equal to length of its base.
  • Colour: Adults overall whitish with numerous brown spots that extend onto most fins. Belly sometimes dusky brownish. Juveniles brown with large dark edged white spots.
  • Habitat and Biology: Found in coastal waters near reefs to depths of 35 m. Common in rich coral areas of clear lagoons and seawards reefs. Usually seen hovering under ledges and table corals. Feeds primarily at night on crustaceans, molluscs and fish.
  • Distribution: Indo-West Pacific.
  • Remarks: Juveniles of Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides appear to mimic a toxic nudibranch or polyclad flatworm. Juveniles also exported as aquarium fish. The family Haemulidae is currently being scientifically revised by Dr. Roland McKay of the Queensland Museum.