Beware of the sharp dorsal and anal spines of grass sweetlip when handling them. To maximise their eating qualities they should be killed humanely by iki jime or a firm knock to the head before placing them in an ice slurry after bleeding.
- Colouration tan, brown or yellow with scattered irregular dark blotches
- Blue dots on cheeks and short blue lines radiating from the lower eye.
- This species is a protogynous hermaphrodite which matures first as a female at 3-4 years old (25-30 cm long) before changing to male by around 38 cm (6-8 years old).
- Maximum age may exceed 20 years.
- A large number of similar looking emperors occur in Australian waters. All are closely related and have similar brain locations.
- This species can be found in tropical and subtropical parts of the western Pacific Ocean, including throughout northern Australia as far south as northern NSW.
- Juvenile grass sweetlip less than about 20 cm long frequent shallow inshore waters near seagrass beds and rubble patches.
- As they grow and mature they leave these nursery areas and move into deeper waters where they frequent reefy areas, including coral reefs.
Fish Size Common Length:
25-35 cm, maximum size around 60 cm and 5 kg.