Plectropomus leopardus (Lacepède, 1802)
|Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets), subfamily: Epinephelinae
|120 cm SL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 24 kg; max. reported age: 26 years
reef-associated; depth range 3 - 100 m
|Western Pacific: from Western Australia, eastward to the Caroline Islands and Fiji: from southern Japan to Australia (Queensland); also recently recorded from Tonga (Ref. 53797). Often misidentified as Plectropomus maculatus.
Dorsal spines (total): 7-8; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10-12; Anal spines: 3-3; Anal soft rays: 8-8. This species is distinguished by the following characters: D VIII,11; A III,8; pectoral rays 14-17 (modally 16); lateral line scales 89-99, in longitudinal series 112-127 scales; interorbital space no embedded scales; gill rakers on first gill arch developed 1-3 + 6-10; front of jaws with a pair of large canine teeth and side of lower jaw with 1-4 large canines; body elongate, its greatest depth 2.9-3.6 in SL; truncate to slightly emarginate caudal fin; pectoral fins 2.0-2.3 in HL; pelvic fins 2.0-2.4 in HL; Head, body and fins with numerous blue spots on red, pale grey or olive to dark brown background; caudal fin with a narrow white posterior margin except near the corners; juveniles (< 5 cm) brown on upper 2/3 of side with scattered blue spots, broad whitish stripe from eye to caudal fin base, white on lower head and yellowish ventrally on side (Ref. 4787, 54980, 90102).
Description: Color in life olivaceous to reddish brown (some are orange-red), paler ventrally with numerous minute round, dark-edged blue spots on head and body (except lower thorax and abdomen), median fins and pectoral fin base; largest spots on body with 3 times or more in greater pupil diameter; with more than 10 spots on cheek (in the region below and behind center of eye to preopercular margin); only Plectropomus with a nearly complete blue ring (dark brown in preservative) around the eye (sometimes broken into segments); whitish margin very narrow and usually present along middle or posterior margin of caudal fin, often preceded by an indistinct dark band; gill raker at right angle of first arch longer than longest gill filaments at angle; enlarged posterior nostril on individuals > 40 cm SL; dorsal soft ray 3rd or 4th longest, 2.2-2.75 in head; anal soft ray longest 2nd or 3rd, 2.05-2.45 in head; outer margin of anal fin from 4th -8th soft ray straight to slightly convex; caudal concavity 5.0-12.0 in head, fin length 1.3-1.55 in head; pectoral fins 1.9-2.2in head; pelvic fins 1.9-2.2 in head (Ref. 4787).
|Inhabit coral-rich areas of lagoon reefs and mid-shelf reefs (Ref. 6390, 48635). Solitary (Ref. 90102). Inactive at night, hiding under ledges (Ref. 9710). Juveniles have a demersal existence in shallow water in reef habitats, especially around coral rubble (Ref. 27259). Adults feed mainly on fish (Ref. 6390), juveniles feed on small fish and invertebrates such as crustaceans and squid (Ref. 27261). A protogynous hermaphrodite (Ref. 55367). Form several spawning aggregations on a reef occurring around the new moon (Ref. 27259). Eggs float just below the surface (Ref. 6390). Larvae are pelagic (Ref. 6390). P. leopardus is used in cage culture; P. maculatus in Ref. 3081 was probably a mixture of P. maculatus and P. leopardus; the Plectropomus sp. used for the experiments reported in Capra et al., 1988 (Ref. 4719) consisted predominantly of P. leopardus, with some P. maculatus (M.F. Capra, pers. comm.). On the Great Barrier Reef, its maximum lifespan is 14 years (Ref. 37816).
, IUCN Grouper and Wrasse Specialist Group
|reports of ciguatera poisoning
Recorded from Lanuza Bay (Ref. 104756), San Juan, Batangas (Ref. 107854), Tañon Strait (Ref. 107276), Malalag Bay, Paril-Sangay Protected Seascape, Moro Gulf (Ref. 106380). Live fish traded in Balabac (Ref. 104484). Museum: USNM 70587, 170773, 170768; ANSP 25819. Also Ref. 280, 2114, 4787, 13724, 48613.
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