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Maldives Marine Life
 

Oriental Sweetlip

The oriental sweetlip (Plectorhinchus Orientalis or Vittatus) is a reef-dwelling creature, 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 colour from childhood to adulthood and is therefore appealing to scuba divers and marine life enthusiasts.

 

Oriental Sweetlips

Oriental Sweetlip Habitat

The oriental sweetlip is found in the Indo-West Pacific oceans were it tends to live at the coral reefs such as the ones on 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 sweetlip fish begins its life as a brown fish with white circular spots.  Inside the white spots the sweetlip has some tan spotting that adds to the special coloring which is a trademark of this type of fish.

 

 

Oriental Sweetlips around Coral Reef


As an adult, the oriental sweetlip morphs 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 yellow which will be present on different parts of the head and the body.  It can grow up to lengths to 85 cm.

Oriental Sweetlip Diet

The oriental sweetlip tends 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 sweetlip 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

Theoriental sweetlip poses absolutely no threat to the 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 teams 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 Sweetlip

The oriental sweetlip 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.