Animal Species:Painted Sweetlips, Diagramma pictum (Thunberg, 1792)
Adult Painted Sweetlips in Australian waters are slate grey coloured. The species occurs in the tropical Indo-West and Central Pacific.
Standard Common Name
Australian Slatey, Blackall, Bluey, Greysweetlips, Moke, Morwong, Mother-in-law Fish, Painted Blubber-lips, Painted Sweetlip Bream, Slate Bream, Slate Sweetlips, Slatey Sweetlips, Smokey Bream, Thicklip, Thicklip Bream, Yellowdot Sweetlips
Johnson et al's 2001 review of the genus Diagramma recognised five subspecies of D. pictum. Adult fish occurring in Australian waters (D. pictum labiosum) are slate grey in colouration (see image above). Adults and subadults never have yellow or orange spots and never have spots on the head forming lines.
Large yellow or orange spots are only found on other subspecies of D. pictum which occur in south-east Asia and elsewhere in the south-west Pacific (see lower image to the right and attached link for three images of D. pictum pictum from Vanuatu). These fish are blue-grey with yellow to orange spots on the head, body and fins. The spots on the head often form lines.
The species grows to about 1 m in length, but is common to 45 cm.
The species occurs in tropical waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific. In Australia it is known from the central coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north, and as far south on the east coast as the central coast of New South Wales.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
It is found in coastal and sandy reef areas in depths to 80 m.
Feeding and Diet
The Painted Sweetlips feeds on bottom-dwelling invertebrates and small fishes.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Johnson, J.W., J.E. Randall and S.F. Chenoweth 2001 Diagramma melanacrum new species of haemulid fish from Indonesia, Borneo and the Philippines with a generic review. Mem. Queensl. Mus. 46(2):657-676.
- McKay, R.J. 2001. Haemulidae. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 5. Bony fishes part 3 (Menidae to Pomacentridae). FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-iv, 2791-3379.
Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow
Jeff Johnson Queensland Museum
Tags fishes, ichthyology, Painted Sweetlips, Diagramma pictum, Haemulidae, Diagramma labiosum, grey, Australian Slatey, Blackall, Bluey, Greysweetlips, Moke, Morwong, Mother-in-law Fish, Painted Blubber-lips, Painted Sweetlip Bream, Slate Bream, Slate Sweetlips, Slatey Sweetlips, Smokey Bream, Thicklip, Thicklip Bream, Yellowdot Sweetlips, 30 cm - 1 m, tropical water, marine, coastal reef, sandy reef,