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Plectropomus laevis (Lacepède, 1801)

Blacksaddled coralgrouper
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Plectropomus laevis
Picture by Randall, J.E.

Australia country information

Common names: Blacksaddle coralgrouper, Blacksaddled coraltrout, Bluespot trout
Occurrence: native
Salinity: marine
Abundance: abundant (always seen in some numbers) | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Importance: commercial | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Aquaculture: never/rarely | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Regulations: restricted | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Uses: live export: yes;
Comments: Bluespot trout inhabit only Queensland waters, from Torres Strait to Gladstone (Ref. 6390); Northwest Shelf (Ref. 90102). Commercial fishery: Bluespot trout are fished on the Great Barrier Reef by handline. Coral trout, in general, are the major Queensland commercial finfish, worth about A$8.2 million in 1989-90. They are one of the target species groups of the Queensland East Coast Reef Line Fishery and comprise 31-34% of the catch from that Fishery (Ref. 27262, 27263). The fishing fleet operates predominantly from ports between Cardwell and Mackay (Ref. 27263) and is very mobile. It concentrates in regions such as the Swain Reefs, the Whitsunday Island Group and the far northern Great Barrier Reef on a rotational basis. The Reef Line Fishery is daytime based and conducted by individuals operating small dories or dinghies ('tender vessels') working to a mother ship. Generally, coral trout are caught in commercial quantities from Torres Strait to just south of Rockhampton (Ref. 27262). Catches peak in the waters off Mackay and only small catches are made south of Gladstone. Although coral trout are caught throughout the year, catches and fishing effort are higher from August to October (Ref. 26263). In north Queensland, coral trout are caught by shallow and deepwater handlining off the reef crests. They may also be caught using rod-and-reel and by trolling ('wogging'). Cut baits from oily fish such as tunas and mackerel (Scombridae), frozen pilchards (Sardinops neopilchardus) from Western Australia and shark (Carcharhinus species), and also squid are commonly used (Ref. 27264). Fishers often target spawning aggregations of common coral trout and bluespot trout, and also seek 'plate-sized' trout about 35 cm FL. Coral trout are an excellent table fish marketed mostly fresh, gilled and gutted, or as fillets. Recreational fishery: In north Queensland waters, considerable quantities of coral trout are taken by handline and rod-and-reel. The fish are caught mainly during the day in depths to about 25 m (Ref. 27264). Coral trout are also caught by spearfishing to about 20 m depth. Small vessels are used on inshore reefs. Fishing in deeper water to 40 m is occasionally conducted from charter vessels (Ref. 27262). The quantity of coral trout taken in the recreational fishery in Queensland is estimated to be the same as, or more than, the quantity taken in the commercial fishery. The largest recorded coral trout caught by a recreational fisher was 23,600 g from Queensland (Australian Underwater Federation records). Resource status: In Queensland, there appears to be 'localised' over-fishing of bluespot trout on reefs near centres of population, and the average size of coral trout is smaller on reefs that are fished compared with the size of coral trout on closed reefs in the Capricorn Reefs area (Ref. 27276). Over the whole Great Barrier Reef however, coral trout densities until 1993, appear to have remained stable over a considerable time period. As of 1993, despite both recreational and commercial fisheries targeting the same species using the same gear and methods, it appeared that the resource had not been over-fished. However, fishing effort on coral trout is increasing from both fisheries. Also Ref. 2334, 4787, 33390, 37816.
National Checklist:
Country Information:
National Fisheries Authority:
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
National Database:

Common names from other countries

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

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets) > Epinephelinae
Etymology: Plectropomus: Greek,plektron = anything to strike with, spur + Greek, poma = cover, operculum (Ref. 45335).  More on author: Lacepède.

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; reef-associated; depth range 4 - 100 m (Ref. 6390).   Tropical; 30°N - 33°S, 33°E - 134°W (Ref. 5222)

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

Indo-Pacific: Kenya to Delagoa Bay, Mozambique, eastward to the Tuamoto Islands, north to the Ryukyu Islands, south to Queensland, Australia and including most islands of the Indian Ocean and of western and central Pacific. Unknown in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Misidentified as Plectropomus maculatus by some authors (Ref. 6448, 6892).

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 60 - ? cm
Max length : 125 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 30573); common length : 84.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 37816); max. published weight: 24.2 kg (Ref. 40637)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 7 - 8; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10-12; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 8.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

A voracious piscivore inhabiting coral-rich areas of lagoon and seaward reefs. Encountered most frequently in channels and outer shelf reefs. Migrate over short distances to spawn, forming large aggregations, maybe 1 or 2 per reef (Ref. 6390). Feeds mostly on fishes, and occasionally on crustaceans (Ref. 9710). The prey comprises a variety of large reef fishes, including groupers, and this diet of large fishes is responsible for the high concentrations of ciguatera toxins. Juveniles may mimic the pufferfish Canthigaster valentini. Usually wary (Ref. 9710). The young have a demersal existence in shallow water in reef habitats, especially around coral rubble (Ref. 27259). They feed on small fish and invertebrates such as crustaceans and squid (Ref. 27261). Eggs float just below the surface (Ref. 6390). The pelagic larvae are found in habitats similar to those of the adults (Ref. 27260). An excellent table fish (Ref. 6390).

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

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Heemstra, Phillip C. | Collaborators

Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall, 1993. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 119314)

  Least Concern (LC) ; Date assessed: 21 November 2016

CITES (Ref. 115941)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 1602)

Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(Publication : search) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Common names
Egg development
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


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Estimates of some properties based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 25.5 - 28.9, mean 27.6 (based on 276 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5078   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00977 (0.00614 - 0.01556), b=3.06 (2.93 - 3.19), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.1   ±0.57 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  High vulnerability (56 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Very high.