Alternatively called the golden sweeper, golden bullseye or Ransonnet’s bullseye, the pygmy sweeper is native to the Indo-West Pacific. On our continent, it is found from the Red Sea to the Transkei coast in South Africa. It can survive at depths of up to 550 metres,
and forms large shoals that spend their daylight hours sheltering under coral overhangs and in caves. They are also commonly found inside shipwrecks. At night, this nocturnal species emerges to feed on zooplankton. Pygmy sweepers grow up to 10 centimetres in length, and like all sweeper species, have a deeply keeled body shape. They can appear flesh-coloured or see-through, and have a yellow head and an oversized yellow eye. The pygmy sweeper has not yet been evaluated by the IUCN Red List.
The dusky sweeper belongs to the Pempheris genus, which includes over 70 known sweeper species. It is found throughout the Indo-Pacific, although physical variations exist between populations in the Indian and Pacific oceans as well as the Andaman Sea. Like most sweeper fish, the dusky
sweeper forms large shoals, hiding under ledges and overhangs during the day and emerging at night to feed on zooplankton. It is a relatively shallow-dwelling species, found on reefs up to 20 metres deep. The dusky sweeper can reach 17 centimetres in length, and has a reflective sheen to its brown body. Identifying features include a faint blackish spot at the base of the pectoral fin, a blackish band on the outer edge of the anal fin and a bright yellow ring around the pupil.
The black-stripe sweeper is found in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. In 2014, it was declared as a separate species from another form of black-stripe sweeper, Pempheris schwenkii.
The latter is found exclusively in the Pacific, and although the two species are essentially the same, there is no geographical overlap between the two. Our black-stripe sweeper, P. tominagai, lives at depths of up to 10 metres and is bronzy gold in colour. It grows to a maximum length of 12 centimetres, and can be identified by the solid black stripe on the inner edge of its anal fin, and the black stripe on the upper and lower margins of its tail fin. Like most sweepers, it is nocturnal and feeds on zooplankton, preferring to spend daylight hours in dark caves and crevices.