The oriental sweetlips (Plectorhinchus Orientalis or Vittatus) is a reef-dwelling creature, a family of the Haemulidae, and one of the most common types of fish found around the islands of the Maldives. It is a fish that undergoes a drastic change in color from childhood to adulthood and is therefore appealing to scuba divers and marine life enthusiasts.
Oriental Sweetlip Habitat
The oriental sweetlips are found in the Indo-West Pacific oceans where it tends to live in the coral reefs such as the ones in the Maldives. The fish is usually a solitary one but can be found occasionally in large groups though this might be highly unlikely.
Oriental Sweetlip Appearance
The oriental sweetlips fish begins its life as a brown fish with white circular spots. Inside the white spots, the sweetlips have some tan spotting that adds to the special coloring which is a trademark of this type of fish.
As an adult, the oriental sweetlips morph into a white color with thin black stripes that run laterally across its body. The fins are yellow and have black spots or stripes depending on the specimen. It also has plenty of yellows which will be present on different parts of the head and the body. It can grow up to lengths of 85 cm.
Oriental Sweetlip Diet
The oriental sweetlips tend to have little interest in coral as a source of food. However, it may eat snails, slugs, worms, and shrimps. The same goes for any crustaceans, as these are a basic part of the fish’s natural everyday diet.
Initially, the sweetlips is a hesitant eater and might eat large quantities of black worms and smaller bristle worms as well as other species of smaller fish which constitute their basic food target.
Oriental Sweetlip Behavior towards Scuba Divers
The oriental sweetlips pose absolutely no threat to scuba divers. They are one of the most common types of fish in the Maldives and are therefore a guaranteed experience for divers who enjoy watching their beautiful ornamental colors.
Oriental Sweetlip Reproduction
Recently, a Taiwanese team was successful in breeding oriental sweetlips. This was the first time that scientists anywhere in the world were able to observe the fish undergo its embryonic development.
Before the team’s study, no data had ever been available regarding the reproduction of such fish. However, since this was a recent study, details of the study have not been shared with the public.
Threats to the Oriental Sweetlips
The oriental sweetlips fish is used for food purposes by fishermen who capture the fish in order to bring customers a sample of its tender and tasty meat. The fish is known for being a gourmet dish as well as for being an ornamental fish because of its color and unique swimming style.
See more: Saltwater Aquarium