Discover the Enchanting Sweetlip: Marine Life in El Nido

Dive into the world of the Clown Sweetlip in El Nido. Explore its behaviors, vivid transformation, and role in the ecosystem of Bacuit Bay.

Known as the Clown Sweetlips or Harlequin Sweetlips, this species earned its name from its distinctive thick lips, used adeptly to uncover invertebrates hidden in the sand.

Marine Life in El Nido - Sweetlip: A Charming Denizen of Bacuit Bay

Divers are entranced by this charming fish, celebrated for its vibrant colors and intriguing swimming patterns. Young sweetlips exhibit erratic movements as a defense mechanism, imitating the behavior of toxic flatworms to ward off predators.

Species Profile:

  • Genus: Plectorhinchus
  • Depth: 1 to 30 meters
  • Diet: Carnivorous
  • Size: Up to 70 cm and 7 kg

Sweetlip - From Juveniles to Adults

As adults, sweetlips undergo a remarkable transformation, shifting to a white body adorned with black spots. This species also experiences substantial growth. While often found in aquarium stores, sweetlip juveniles captivate in Baquit Bay. Yet, their potential size of up to 70 cm remains underestimated by many aquarists.

Juveniles typically embrace solitude, while adults either roam alone or form groups. Daytime sees them hovering over reefs or seeking refuge beneath table corals, coral ledges, and caves. Sweetlips frequently share these havens with other species and frequent wrasse cleaning stations. During the night, they venture out to hunt invertebrate prey like crabs, shrimp, and worms. Encounters with these captivating creatures occur during Night Dives or Sunrise Dives, with juveniles serving as favored subjects for photographers.

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