Brown Sweetlips (species: Plectorhinchus gibbosus) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Plectorhinchus gibbosus
Brown Sweetlips

©Anne Hoggett: Plectorhinchus gibbosus about 60 cm long at Big Vicki's Reef, Lizard Island.

©Anne Hoggett: Plectorhinchus gibbosus about 40 cm long on the reef flat on the S side of South Island, Lizard Island Group.

©Anne Hoggett: A juvenile Plectorhinchus gibbosus about 12 cm long, stranded in a depression in sand flat near Lizard Island Research Station at an extreme low tide. It was almost motionless in a head-down position, acting like a dead leaf. Note the characteristic translucent tail, pectoral fins and edge of rear part of dorsal fin. Thanks to Sascha Schultz for identifying this fish through iNaturalist.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Haemulidae
Genus Plectorhinchus
Species Plectorhinchus gibbosus



Distinguishing features

Pale grey with a dark grey face, a dark line on cheek and dark outline to gill cover; often with a large dark saddle on back. A high back profile. Juveniles are brown rather than grey and they have a translucent tail, pectoral fins and edge of rear part of dorsal fin.


  • Up to 60 cm (Length according to Allen et al, 2003)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Web resources


  • Grutter, A.S. (1997). Effect of the removal of cleaner fish on the abundance and species composition of reef fish, Oecologia, 111: 137-143. LIRS catalog number 504.
  • Hunter, J.A., E. Ingram, R.D. Adlard, R.A. Bray and T.H. Cribb (2010). A cryptic complex of Transversotrema species (Digenea: Transversotrematidae) on labroid, haemulid and lethrinid fishes in the Indo-West Pacific region, including the description of three new species, Zootaxa, 2652: 17-32. LIRS catalog number 1313.
  • Kerry, J.T. and D. R. Bellwood (2015). Competition for shelter in a high-diversity system: structure use by large reef fishes, Coral Reefs, doi 10.1007/s00338-015-1362-3. LIRS catalog number 1937.
  • View all references