Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 13 spines and 17-20 rays; the second to the fifth spine longest and subequal. Anal fin with 3 spines and 7-8 rays. Lips fleshy, swollen with age.
Colour: Varies greatly with age. Juveniles with connected black blotches that gradually break up in adults into horizontal bands which unite at tip of snout. Pectoral fins black in juveniles, becoming uniform yellow in adults. Median fins with black margin. Tail spotted with age.
Habitat and Biology: Inhabits coral reefs and inshore rocky reefs to a depth of 42 m. Adults often form aggregations. Feeds on benthic crustaceans and molluscs. Juveniles extremely active.
Distribution: Indo-West Pacific.
Remarks: Plectorhinchus vittatus is the most commonly seen sweetlips in the Maldivian reefs. Adults not shy of divers but juveniles tend to hide among coral branches. Juveniles are exported as aquarium fish. This species was previously known as P. orientalis.