Photo copyright Tim Nicholson.
Oriental Sweetlips, Plectorhinchus orientalis, taken on Fenfushi Giri (Raa Atoll), Maldives
You find the Oriental Sweetlips between 2 and 25 m on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific. They are usually solitary, but sometimes occur in groups. Large for a sweetlips, the Oriental sweetlips grows to 86 cm.
The fish change colour as they grow: juveniles are dark brown with cream blotches progressing to the distinctive black and white stripes of the adults. They often shelter under ledges by day and feed at night. Predators, they feed on other fish and molluscs.
You can distinguish the Oriental Sweetlips from other sweetlips by the horizontal stripes which go right the way down its body. The stripes on a similar species, P. lessonii, stop halfway down the body.
Coral Reef Fishes, Indo-Pacific and Caribbean
, by Ewald Lieske and Robert Myers, Harper Collins
Atlas of the Maldives: A Reference for Travellers, Divers and Sailors, by Tim Godfrey,(2007)
The Underwater Photographer: Digital and Traditional Techniques by Martin Edge, Paperback, 536 pages (2009)