Bluespotted Emperor, Lethrinus punctulatus Macleay 1878

Other Names: Lesser Spangled Emperor, Norwest Snapper, Small North West Snapper

Bluespotted Emperor, Lethrinus punctulatus. Source: Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC). License: CC by Attribution

A relatively small emperor with a red margin on the dorsal, caudal and pectoral fins, a brownish-yellow head with blue spots, and often 9-10 indistinct dark bars along the side. This species was previously considered to be a junior synonym of Lethrinus lentjan.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Lethrinus punctulatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Sep 2023,

Bluespotted Emperor, Lethrinus punctulatus Macleay 1878

More Info


Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, to at least Darwin, Northern Territory, and is  most common in the WA Canning and Pilbara bioregions.
Inhabits coral reefs, sand and rubble areas, and seagrass beds at depths to 150 m.


The species is taken by commercial fishers using trawls, traps and lines, primarily in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is also caught by recreational fishers.

Species Citation

Lethrinus punctulatus Macleay 1878, Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 2(4): 351. Type locality: Port Darwin, Northern Territory.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Bluespotted Emperor, Lethrinus punctulatus Macleay 1878


Allen, G.R., Victor, B.C. & Erdmann, M.V. 2021. Lethrinus mitchelli, a new species of emperor fish (Teleostei: Lethrinidae) from Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 38: 66-77, (considered a junior synonym of Lethrinus lentjan)

Carpenter, K.E. 2001. Sparidae, Lethrinidae. pp. 2990-3050 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp. (as Lethrinus sp. 3)

Carpenter, K.E. & Allen, G.R. 1989. FAO Species Catalogue. Emperor fishes and large-eye breams of the world (family Lethrinidae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of lethrinid species known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis. No. 125, Vol. 9. Rome : FAO 118 pp. (as a synonym of Lethrinus lentjan

Johnson, M.S., Hebbert, D.R. & Moran, M.J. 1993. Genetic analysis of populations of north-western Australian fish species. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 44: 673–685.

Macleay, W.J. 1878. The fishes of Port Darwin. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 2(4): 344-367 pls 7-10 See ref at BHL

Moore, G.I., Morrison, S.M. & Johnson, J.W. 2020. The distribution of shallow marine fishes of the Kimberley, Western Australia, based on a long-term dataset and multiple methods. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 85: 105-115 + Appendix Tab. 1.

Moran, M., Edmonds, J., Jenke, J., Cassells, G. & Burton, C. 1993, Fisheries biology of emperors (Lethrinidae) in north-west Australian coastal waters. Final Report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) on Project No. 89/20. Fisheries Department, Perth, Western Australia. 58 pp.

Taylor, M.D., McLean, D., Candland, L., et al. 2017. Ontogenetic shifts in commercially important Lethrinus punctulatus a short‐lived endemic species of the Pilbara, Western Australia. pp. 757-775 in Babcock, R., Donovan, A., Collin, S. & Ochieng‐Erftemeijer, C. 2017. Pilbara Marine Conservation Partnership – Final Report. Brisbane: CSIRO

Travers, M.J. 2016. Characteristics of the fish assemblages of soft substrata and reefs in north-western Australia and their relationships with latitude and various factors. Ph.D thesis, Murdoch University, Western Australia, 258 pp.

Travers, M.J., Clarke, K.R., Newman, S.J., Hall, N.G. & Potter, I.C. 2018. To what extents are species richness and abundance of reef fishes along a tropical coast related to latitude and other factors? Continental Shelf Research 167: 99-110,

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37351001

Depth:to 150 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:38 cm FL


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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map