Painted Sweetlips, Diagramma pictum labiosum (Macleay 1883)

Other Names: 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

Painted Sweetlips, Diagramma pictum labiosum, on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

Adults are slate-grey, and along with subadult fish, lack yellow or orange spots and never have spots on the head forming lines. 
This subspecies has been confused with Diagramma pictum pictum which according to Johnson et al. (2001), does not occur in Australia. Adults in Australian waters are slate grey in colouration (see image above), and unlike adults and subadults of the true Diagramma pictum, lack yellow or orange spots and never have spots on the head forming lines. Further work is needed to determine the correct name of the Australian species.

Video of various life stages of the Painted Sweetlips on the Gold Coast Seaway

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Diagramma pictum labiosum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Apr 2024,

Painted Sweetlips, Diagramma pictum labiosum (Macleay 1883)

More Info


Recorded in the Australian EEZ from the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, WA, to Sydney, NSW, and Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea; also in New Guinea. Adults usually form large schools along reef slopes and in deeper lagoons during the day, dispersing to feed at night. Juveniles occur in lagoons, shallow estuaries and coastal reefs. 


Dorsal fin IX-X, 22-25; Anal fin III, 7. Caudal fin rounded in juveniles, truncate in adults.


Carnivore - feeds on benthic invertebrates and small fishes.


Species Citation

Diagramma labiosum Macleay, 1883, Proc. Linn. Soc. N. S. W. 1 8(2): 202. Type locality: Wide Bay, QLD.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Painted Sweetlips, Diagramma pictum labiosum (Macleay 1883)


Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2 (as Spilotichthys pictus)

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. (as Diagramma pictum)

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp. (as Diagramma pictum)

Francis, M.P. 1991. Additions to the Fish Faunas of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 45(2): 204-220 figs 1-44 (as Diagramma labiosum)

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. (as Diagramma pictum)

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp. (as Diagramma pictum)

Hutchins, J.B. 1997. Checklist of fishes of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. pp. 239-253 in Wells, F.E. (ed.) The Marine Flora and fauna of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum. (as Diagramma pictum)

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) (as Diagramma pictum labiosum)

Johnson, J.W., Randall, J.E. & Chenoweth, S.F. 2001. Diagramma melanacrum new species of haemulid fish from Indonesia, Borneo and the Philippines with a generic review. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 46(2): 657-676.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal fishes of south-eastern Australia. University of Hawaii Press. Honolulu, Hawaii. 437 pp. (as Diagramma labiosus)

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. (as Diagramma labiosum)

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 (as Diagramma labiosum).
Macleay, W.J. 1883. Notes on a collection of fishes from the Burdekin and Mary Rivers, Queensland. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 8(2): 199-213. (as Diagramma labiosum)

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. (as Diagramma labiosum)

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. (as Diagramma pictum)

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. (as Diagramma pictum)

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2 (as Diagramma pictum)

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. (as Diagramma pictum)

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp. (as Diagramma labiosum)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37350003

Depth:0-88 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:90 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map