Goldspotted sweetlips

Goldspotted Sweetlips – Facts and Photographs

Goldspotted sweetlips

The Goldspotted Sweetlips (Plectorhinchus flavomaculatus) also known as the Lemonfish, is a species of grunt. Closely related to the snappers, grunts have smaller mouths and teeth and thicker fleshy lips giving them the name sweetlips.

They may also grind their teeth together when caught, emitting a grunting sound, hence the name grunt. The Goldspotted Sweetlips is a common fish on the east African coast although larger specimens are becoming more rare.

goldspotted sweetlips Plectorhinchus flavomaculatus, also known as the Lemonfish


Juvenile Goldspotted Sweetlips have a brown or blue grey background color with horizontal gold lines across the body. As they age so the lines on the body turn into dots. The lines on the face mainly stay in place. An attractive looking fish which grows up to 60 cm. Some adults seem to develop a condition where the skin appears to peel leaving large brown blotches on the fish.

gold spotted sweetlips Plectorhinchus flavomaculatus


The adult Goldspotted Sweetlips are often  solitary and are generally easy to approach. They are curious fish and will sometimes come and inspect a diver, but if one gets too close they are quick to dart into a hiding spot or to sit under an overhang. The juveniles are elusive and hide in crevices or caves when approached. They will sometimes be seen swimming with other  sweetlips species.


The Goldspotted Sweetlips is found across the Indian ocean and in the west Pacific. The juveniles are seen on the reef, usually close to a coral bommie with hiding spots, which they are quick to dart into. The adults are seen hanging over or near the reef during the day, singly or in small groups.

Plectorhinchus flavomaculatus 3


The Goldspotted Sweetlips are nocturnal feeders , feeding mainly on sand living crustaceans and worms.

Plectorhinchus flavomaculatus 2


Very little  is known about their breeding habits but they are assumed to mate and lay and fertilize eggs into the water table above the reef.

Plectorhinchus flavomaculatus 1


They Goldspotted Sweetlips is not usually exploited commercially and the taste of the meat is said to be average at best.


These fish grow quite large and because of this are not generally kept in private aquariums. Some public aquariums  keep them in their larger tanks.


Kingdom:    Animalia
Phylum:       Chordata
Class:           Actinopterygii
Order:          Perciformes
Family:         Haemulidae
Genus:          Plectorhinchus
Species:        P. flavomaculatus


Goldspotted sweetlips