Plectorhinchus vittatus

Plectorhinchus vittatus belongs to the family of grunts (Haemulidae), a family of fishes made up of 2 subfamilies in which there are 19 different genera grouping 133 different species. We find this striking species of grunts in the waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from the East African coasts to Indonesia, northern Australia, Thailand, the Philippines and Polynesia. In these regions, this species prefers coastal waters near reefs at depths between 2 and 25 meters.

The body of Plectorhinchus vittatus is oval, relatively elongated and laterally compressed. Its maximum total length reaches 60 cm, although as a general rule the most common specimens are around 40 cm in total length. It has a large mouth with fleshy lips, which become more and more fleshy with age. On the chin we find 6 pores that are not interconnected by any slit, and that the specimen uses as sensory organs to capture its prey. The dorsal fin has 13 spines (rarely 12 or 14) followed by 17-20 soft rays, while the anal fin has 3 spines and 7-8 soft rays.

Juvenile specimens of Plectorhinchus vittatus have a dark black-brown body with white spots with yellow-orangeish perimeters. As they grow, this pattern becomes 6 to 12 horizontal stripes of dark brown, brownish-blue or black, with whitish interspaces. The eyes of adults are yellow, as is the face. The fins are yellow with numerous more or less oval/circular dark spots and dark margins.

Generally, we will find the specimens of Plectorhinchus vittatus solitary or forming not very numerous groups. It is a species that is active at night, when it moves around the reefs in search of prey: small invertebrates such as crustaceans, gastropods or annelids, as well as occasionally small fish.


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