The harlequin sweetlips, is a species of grunt native to the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean. It is a denizen of coral reefs found at depths of from 1 to 30 m. It can reach 72 cm.
The Clown Sweetlips Juveniles, under about 3 inches, are brown overall with black-bordered white spots and white-and-black fins. As they grow they develop brown spots on a white background, which become more numerous as they age. Not only is there a dramatic color change, but there is also a radical transformation in size of the Clown Sweetlips.
Harlequin Sweetlips's facts
Did you know?
The Clown Sweetlips is the most common in the genus Plectrohenchus.
In some areas of the world 'Grunts' are better known as 'Sweetlips' distinguished from other species by their very large rubbery lips.
'Grunts'because they "grunt," the grunting sound is produced by their flat teeth plates rubbing together and this is amplified by their air bladders.
Harlequin Sweetlips's Behavior & Ecology
Adults are solitary, near and under ledges or caves by day. Juveniles are found among corals. Juveniles mimic the movement of a poisonous flatworm for defence against predators.
With age they gain more spots and the spots reverse from white to black as they age. Adult harlequin sweetlips inhabit edges and caves can be found in lagoons and reefs of the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans. Although they live largely in solitude, sweetlips can benefit from symbiotic relationship with cleaner wrasse, a small, coral reef-dweller that dines on the parasites, food particles and dead tissue of other fish.
Harlequin Sweetlips's Feeding
Feeds on crustaceans, mollusks, and fishes at night.
Harlequin Sweetlips's Reproduction
Oviparous, distinct pairing during breeding.
Harlequin Sweetlips's Relationship with Humans
This species is of minor importance to local commercial fisheries and can be found in the aquarium trade.