Examples of fish with big lips – are they real? – Technology Org

There are lots of species of fish around the world and many of them have unusual features. You may even come across fish that have extraordinarily large lips.

There are lots of examples of fish with big lips on the internet – some existing images seem to be too strange to be real. But such creatures do exist in reality and some of them are very common, in fact. Here we will discuss the 10 best examples with illustrations of these interesting aquatic species.

Sweetlips fish

Oblique-banded Sweetlips fish (Plectorhinchus lineatus).

Oblique-banded Sweetlips fish (Plectorhinchus lineatus). Image credit: Richard Ling via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 2.0

Let’s start with the sweetlips fish. It lives in shallow warm waters and coral reefs of the Indian and Pacific oceans. The fish feeds on crustaceans, mollusks, and smaller fish. You can recognize the sweetlips fish from vibrant colors ranging from gray, black, yellow, brown, and white.


Red-bellied piranha has nice big lips - but you certainly don't wish to see their teeth!

Red bellied piranha has nice big lips – but you certainly don’t wish to see their teeth! Image credit: H. Zell via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Another example of a fish with big lips is the piranha. It is well known as an aggressive species due to its bulldog-like face and sharp teeth. Piranha lives in the Amazon and other rivers and lakes of South America. Their diet consists of aquatic and land animals, such as fish, mollusks, birds, and insects. But despite its reputation, piranha does not attack humans. They can even be kept as aquarium fish.

European carp

Carp is one of the most common freshwater fish species.

Carp is one of the most common freshwater fish species. Image credit: Hippopx, CC0 Public Domain

The European carp is a fish with elongated lips often used for food. It is native to lakes and rivers in Europe and Asia but has been introduced to various environments worldwide. Carp is omnivorous and can grow to very large sizes. It is often considered an invasive species.


Giant gourami (Osphronemus goramy)

Giant gourami (Osphronemus goramy). Image credit: Adrian Pingstone via Wikimedia, Public Domain

Gouramis are freshwater fish native to Asia. They live in slow-moving or shallow and stagnant waters. Their big lips have a special function: they use them to kiss their mates when fighting or mating. Gouramis are popular aquarium fish due to their bright colors and relative intelligence.

Not all subspecies of gouramis have big lips, though – Giant Gourami is the most impressive specimen in this regard.


Picasso triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus)

Picasso triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus). Image credit: Arpingstone via Wikimedia, Public Domain

Triggerfish is a fish of tropical oceans. It is thin and long and can be easily recognized by large lips. Besides outstanding lips, they have a unique ability to flate themselves. Triggerfish can be trained to perform tricks, so they are often kept in aquariums.


Pacu in aquarium.

Pacu in aquarium. Image credit: Omnitarian via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Another big-lips fish, a freshwater Pacu lives in South America, but this name is usually used to refer to several species of fish that are relatives of piranha. However, Pacu does not have similar razor-sharp teeth, has a less strong bite, and is not as aggressive as the Piranha.

It is omnivorous, but mainly eats plant material – flesh is not found on its menu very often. Pacu can grow much larger than a piranha, up to 1.08 m (3 ft 6+1⁄2 in) in length and 40 kg (88 lb) in weight. It is important to remember that while Pacu prefers plant-based food, its jaw is very strong – which is why fishermen are warned about safety precautions while handling this fish.

Humphead wrasse

Humphead Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus).

Humphead Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus). Image credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos via Wikimedia, GFDL 1.2

Have you seen a fish with lips that big? Humphead wrasse is probably a leader in this aspect. It is a large saltwater fish living in the Indian and Pacific oceans – males are typically larger than females, and can grow up to 2 meters in length, and weigh as much as 180 kg (almost 400 pounds). Their average size is around 1 meter, though.

It is no surprise that large thick lips are one of the main features allowing for easy identification of the humphead wrasse. They also have two black lines behind their eyes. As the name suggests, adult specimens also have a hump on their foreheads. Color-wise, they vary from dim blue-green to more vibrant green and blue with purple shades.


Different colors of Koi.

Different colors of Koi. Image credit: Arden via Wikimedia, CC BY-2.0

Koi also has a longer name – nishikigoi, which translates as “brocaded carp”. These fish are very popular for decorative purposes and are typically kept in private or commercial ponds and water gardens where visitors can admire their vibrant colours. Another reason for Koi’s popularity is the fact that it is easy to take care of them.

Their colors, patterns and scalation vary depending on exact sub-species. But major colors remain the same: white, red, orange, yellow, blue, brown, and black. There are also more exotic shades, such as metallic gold and silver-white (platinum) scales.

Paddletail snapper

Paddletail snapper, Lutjanus gibbus

Paddletail snapper, Lutjanus gibbus. Image credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos via Wikimedia, CY BB-NC

Other names of this species are humpback red snapper (Lutjanus gibbus), hunchback snapper, or simply paddletail. This fish is an important resource for commercial fishing and you can find it in fish markets. They and also are a popular specimen in aquariums.

According to some reports, paddletail snapper in Pacific regions may cause ciguatera poisoning.

marine angelfish

Regal marine angelfish.

Regal marine angelfish. Image credit: Nick Hobgood via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Marine angelfish belong to the family Pomacanthidae. It is not the same group as freshwater angelfish, although their appearance is somewhat similar, and both marine and freshwater angelfish have relatively large lips. Saltwater “version” of angelfish are found mainly on shallow reefs in the tropical regions in the Atlantic, Indian, and western Pacific Oceans. The entire family contains 86 species.

Marine angelfish usually demonstrate bright colours, while their bodies are deep and laterally compressed. They also have strong preopercle spines (part of the gill covers), which explains their name Pomacanthidae: poma means “cover” and akantha means “thorn”.

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