Sweetlips and grunts are closely related to snappers and belong to the Haemulidae family. The sweetlip comes from a subfamily called Plectorhinchinae. Their moniker or sobriquet is ‘sweetlip’  because of their prominent thick lips.

The grunts are allocated to the subfamily of Haemulinae. The grunt reference alludes to their ability to produce grunt-like noises. They do this by grinding their pharyngeal teeth and amplify the sound with their gas bladder.

They differ from snappers since their mouth is smaller and located lower on the head. They do not have canines like snappers but small, conical teeth.

The sweetlips fish are nocturnal, meaning its active during the night. During the day the sweetlips finds refuge in rubble areas and coral caves. The young grunt is in essence solitary but once having reached the adult state they are part of larger schools. Sweetlips are colourful and their colouration changes with growth. During the day they hover over under or near overhangs or tubular corals. Many school during the day and disperse to feed on invertebrates at night.

The biggest sweetlips fish is aptly named the giant sweetlips and measures up to 100 cm (3.2ft).

The grunts fish aren’t as colourful as their sweetlips counterpart. Their drab silver with dark marks do not necessarily spark one’s imagination.

 Family Members

Black-Spotted Sweetlip

Size up to 45 cm (1,47ft). Depth up to 55m (180ft)

This is the most common species of sweetlips in the Red Sea. The black-spotted grunt or sweetlip has a silvery and white toned, tapering and stout body, dotted with black spots. It has yellow fins and a yellow mouth. It grows to 45 cm in length and frequents coralline bottoms at depths not exceeding 55 meters. The grunt likes to find comfort in deep, sandy lagoons, semi-sheltered seaward reefs and estuaries. This sweetlips fish is primarily nocturnal, feeding on fish and crustaceans. Their favourite hang  and hide-outs, finding shelter in small groups, are coral ledges and umbrella-like coralline formations during the day.


Other Family Members

Bronze-striped grunt

Giant Sweetlips

Gibbus Sweetlips

Goldspotted Sweetlips

Minstrel Sweetlips

Netted Sweetlips

Slate Sweetlips

Small-Spotted Grunt

White-barred Sweetlips