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Lethrinus nebulosus  (Forsskål, 1775)

Spangled emperor
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Lethrinus nebulosus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Lethrinus nebulosus (Spangled emperor)
Lethrinus nebulosus
Picture by Randall, J.E.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Lethrinidae (Emperors or scavengers) > Lethrininae
Etymology: Lethrinus: Greek, lethrinia, a fish pertaining to genus Pagellus.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; brackish; reef-associated; non-migratory; depth range 10 - 75 m (Ref. 2295).   Tropical; 36°N - 32°S

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 39.4, range 41 - ? cm
Max length : 87.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 47613); common length : 70.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5450); max. published weight: 8.4 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 28 years (Ref. 92312)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 10; Dorsal soft rays (total): 9; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 8. Cheek without scales; 5-9 scales in supra temporal patch; inner surface of pectoral fin densely covered with scales; posterior angle of opercular fully scaled. Body color is yellowish or bronze, lighter below. Centers of many scales with a white or light blue spot. Sometimes irregular dark indistinct bars on sides and a square black blotch above pectoral fin bordering below the lateral line. Three blue streaks or series of blue spots radiate forward and ventrally from the eye. The fins are whitish or yellowish; the pelvic dusky, the edge of the dorsal fin is reddish. TL/SL relationship (cm): TL = 1.70 +1.24. Juveniles variable with blotches or stripe and changes with habitat (Ref. 48635).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea, Persian Gulf and East Africa to southern Japan and Samoa. According to a genetic study (Ref. 28017), Lethrinus nebulosus and Lethrinus choerorynchus are two distinct species in Western Australia.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Inhabit coral reefs, coralline lagoons, seagrass beds, mangrove swamps, flat sand bottoms, and coastal rock areas. Adults solitary or in small schools; juveniles form large schools in shallow, sheltered sandy areas, also harbors where in seagrasses, algae or sponge habitats at various depths. Feed on echinoderms, mollusks and crustaceans, and to some extent on polychaetes and fish. A protogynous hermaphrodite (Ref. 55367). May have a coppery or iodine taste or smell in the Indian Ocean (Ref. 2295, 11888). It has been shown that this species can survive for long periods in salinities as low as 10 parts per thousand and therefore it is a potential estuarine aquaculture species (Ref. 2295). Utilized as a food fish.

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

The reproductive nature of spangled emperors is uncertain, although they also may be protogynous hermaphrodites (Ref. 27260). A study on the Great Barrier Reef (Ref. 27264) found no clear evidence of sex change in spangled emperors within the size range 17-54 cm (Ref. 6390). In the aquarium, pursuit of a female with a slightly swollen abdomen by a male signifies the start of mating. The male uses its mouth to bump and push the female's abdomen. Then eggs and sperm are released at the water surface (Ref. 58706).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Carpenter, K.E. and G.R. Allen, 1989. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 9. Emperor fishes and large-eye breams of the world (family Lethrinidae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of lethrinid species known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(9):118 p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 2295)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 31637)




Human uses

Fisheries: highly commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(fisheries: production; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01698 (0.01390 - 0.02075), b=2.97 (2.92 - 3.02), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.8   ±0.2 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.09-0.16; tm=4-9; tmax=27).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate to high vulnerability (48 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   High.