Haemulidae


Grunts, sweetlips
Characteristic features:
Keys:
Haemulidae genera
    1. Chin with 2 pores followed by a pit containing a pore on each side Pomadasys
    2. Chin with 6 pores and no median pit containing a pore on each side 2
    1. Dorsal fin with 9 or 10 spines and 21–26 soft rays; 16–20 scales between lateral line and dorsal-fin origin Diagramma
    2. Dorsal fin with 11 or more spines and 14–22 soft rays; 10–17 scales between lateral line and dorsal-fin origin Plectorhinchus
Pomadasys
    1. A vertical black band about 8 scales wide over nape, terminating about 3 scales below lateral line; about 6 black blotches posterior to the vertical band; spinous part of dorsal fin with a large black blotch Pomadasys maculatus
    2. Colour not as above 2
    1. Body with distinct black or brown horizontal stripes 3
    2. Body without distinct stripes in adults, juveniles may have 3 indistinct stripes or numerous horizontal lines of contiguous spots 4
    1. Body with 4 distinct black stripes, the lower one behind eye to middle of tail base Pomadasys andamanensis
    2. Body with 6 brown stripes that bifurcate anteriorly; the bands becoming more numerous with growth Pomadasys furcatus
    1. Body with dark spots or blotches arranged as horizontal rows or vertical interrupted bars; dorsal fins with distinct spots or dark blotches; dorsal-fin rays usually 14 5
    2. Body without dark spots or blotches, juveniles of P. trifasciatus have 3 darker stripes of which the middle one is broadest; opercle with distinct dark spot; dorsal fins unspotted or with a few vague darker blotches on base only; dorsal-fin rays usually 13 6
    1. Body with pairs of spots or dull blotches arranged into vertically interrupted bars; old specimens may be uniformly coloured with dark blotches or spots on dorsal fins; circumpeduncular scales 20 Pomadasys kaakan
    2. Body with conspicuous rounded spots, scattered on body or forming lines or rows of spots on back; circumpeduncular scales 21 or 22 Pomadasys argenteus
    1. Second anal-fin spine usually longer than length of snout plus diameter of eye; eye diameter usually less than depth of caudal peduncle; first gill arch with middle gill rakers about 2/3 length of gill lamellae; circumpeduncular scales usually 18 or 19 (rarely 20); lining of abdominal cavity pale Pomadasys argyreus
    2. Second anal-fin spine about equal to or shorter than length of snout plus diameter of eye; eye diameter about equal to depth of caudal peduncle; first gill arch with middle gill rakers about equal to length of gill lamellae; circumpeduncular scales usually 21 to 23 (rarely 19 or 20); lining of abdominal cavity black Pomadasys trifasciatus
Diagramma
    1. lower 1/4 to 1/3 of caudal fin black; third or fourth dorsal-fin spine longest; pelvic fins reaching to or beyond anus in adults; upper head and body with numerous small dark brown close-set spots; spots on head usually not forming rows Diagramma melanacrum
    2. lower 1/4 to 1/3 of caudal fin not black but sometimes dusky to black near lower margin in juveniles and subadults; second dorsal-fin spine longest; pelvic fins not reaching anus in adults; upper head and body of large juveniles and sub-adults with small yellow to orange close-set spots, adults either with or without spots; yellow to orange spots forming short bars or wavy lines on cheek of juveniles and subadults Diagramma pictum
Plectorhinchus
    1. Body uniform grey, brownish or olive, with or without a paler caudal fin, red opercular membrane or dark tips to fins 2
    2. Body not uniformly coloured 4
    1. Anterior half of soft dorsal fin black; caudal-fin lobes, particularly lower, tipped with black; pectoral, pelvic, and anal fins dusky to black; dorsal-fin spines usually 13 (rarely 12); dorsal-fin rays 16–20 Plectorhinchus albovittatus
    2. Soft dorsal fin uniformly coloured; dorsal-fin spines 12 or 14 (rarely 13) 3
    1. Dorsal-fin with 14 (very rarely 13) spines and 15–17 (mostly 16) soft rays; juveniles with caudal fin pink Plectorhinchus gibbosus
    2. Dorsal fin with 12 spines and 18–20 (rarely 20) soft rays; juveniles with caudal fin yellow Plectorhinchus unicolor
    1. Body with distinct spots 5
    2. Body with large blotches, longitudinal stripes and/or small spots 7
    1. Gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch 16–19; body with orange, gold, or rust-coloured spots fading with age; head with narrow, undulating yellow to rust coloured lines Plectorhinchus flavomaculatus
    2. Gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch 22 or more; colour not as above 6
    1. Body with numerous dark brown to black spots much smaller than pupil; pelvic fins dusky with a basal red brown blotch or streaks, not spotted; total gill rakers on first gill arch 33–37; longest dorsal-fin ray 12–14% of standard length, about 1/2 length of soft dorsal-fin base or less Plectorhinchus pica
    2. Body with numerous dark brown spots, subequal to pupil; pelvic fins spotted, darkening with age; total gill rakers on first gill arch 36–43; longest dorsal-fin ray 16–25% of standard length, almost equal to length of soft dorsal-fin base in small specimens, more than 1/2 length of soft dorsal-fin base in adults Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides
    1. Body with large blotches 8
    2. Body without large blotches 10
    1. Gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch 26–28; juveniles brown with large dark edged white spots on body Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides
    2. Gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch 25 or less; colouration not as above 9
    1. Light areas with or without dark spots; black areas break up into dark spots; white ventrally pectoral fins pale Plectorhinchus pica
    2. Light areas with darker spots that elongate and change into dark horizontal stripes; pectoral fins black or with black blotches Plectorhinchus vittatus
    1. Regular dark or light horizontal stripes along body 11
    2. Yellow stripes along head and body or on head only 15
    1. Upper stripes horizontal on body across nape, interorbital and snout Plectorhinchus vittatus
    2. Upper stripes horizontal on body but bending downward and converging on snout 12
    1. Total gill rakers on first gill arch 19–22, of which 11–15 on lower limb; juveniles with 3 or 4 white stripes on a dark brown or black body, changing to about 4 dark brown stripes above pectoral-fin base, none below except 2 below eye on head; pelvic fins with anterior half except margin black or dark brown Plectorhinchus lessonii
    2. Total gill rakers on first gill arch 26 or more, of which 17 or more on lower limb, colour not as above 13
    1. Three narrow light stripes on body fading with age; upper anterior part of soft dorsal fin dark brown to black; tips of caudal-fin lobes blackish Plectorhinchus albovittatus
    2. Usually more than 4 light stripes on body; pelvic fins without an area of black pigmentation; stripes splitting and increasing with growth 14
    1. Dorsal-fin spines 12 or 13 (usually 13); numerous diagonal stripes broken into spots in adults, subadults and juveniles with few, horizontal stripes; upper pectoral-fin base red; caudal fin yellow with black spots and posterior margin Plectorhinchus lineatus
    2. Dorsal-fin spines 12 (rarely 13); 5–9 horizontal dark edged stripes on sides, juveniles with fewer stripes; stripes flow onto yellow caudal fin in a diagonal manner and fade with growth; fins yellow, unspotted Plectorhinchus polytaenia
    1. Pale blue or white horizontal stripes edged with dark brown Plectorhinchus polytaenia
    2. Stripes not dark edged 16
    1. Pale blue and bright yellow horizontal stripes on head and body; all fins uniform yellow Plectorhinchus chrysotaenia
    2. Pale blue and bright yellow horizontal stripes on head only; dorsal fin not uniform yellow Plectorhinchus flavomaculatus
Similar families:

Lethrinidae
Emperors

Lethrinidae feature

Lethrinidae differ in having scales absent between eye and mouth (vs. scales present); pores absent on chin (vs. 2 or more pores present) and second anal-fin spine moderate (vs. very strong).

Lutjanidae
Snappers

Lutjanidae

Lutjanidae differ in having no pores on chin (vs. pores present); canine teeth usually present (vs. teeth conical, no canines) and second anal-fin spine weak (vs. very strong).