Louvar, Luvarus imperialis Rafinesque 1810

Other Names: Loo, Luvaru, Silver King

Louvar, Luvarus imperialis. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A very rare oceanic fish with a stout elongate-oval body that tapers to a narrow tail base and a large bulging forehead . Louvars have their eyes positioned low on the head, behind the small mouth in adults. They are metallic bluish-grey with a pinkish-orange tinge, especially on the belly, and pinkish-orange fins. 

Louvars are closely related to surgeonfishes of the family Acanthuridae - juveniles are very different and have a pair of spines on the tail base that are lost with growth. Juveniles also have longer dorsal and anal fins that are positioned further forward on the body, and teeth in the jaws. The body and of juveniles and young fish have black spots.

Video of a Louvar that had been caught on hook and line.

Video with a compilation of  Louvar images

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Luvarus imperialis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Mar 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1048

Louvar, Luvarus imperialis Rafinesque 1810

More Info


Circumglobal in subtropical and temperate seas. Recorded in Australia from off Coffs Harbour southern Australia, to off Rottnest Island, Western Australia.


Carnivore - feeds on soft-bodied planktonic animals such as jellyfishes and ctenophores.


The sexes are separate, and females produce millions of small pelagic eggs . It was estimated that one individual measuring 170 cm contained 47.5 million eggs.


Although very rare and taken only as bycatch, the Louvar is a highly-prized food fish.

Species Citation

Luvarus imperialis Rafinesque 1810, Caratteri di alcuni nuovi generi e nuove specie di animali e piante della Sicilia: 22. Type locality: Sicily, Mediterranean.


Dianne J. Bray

Louvar, Luvarus imperialis Rafinesque 1810


Bannikov, A.F. & Tyler, J.C. 1995. Phylogenetic revision of the fish families Luvaridae and †Kushlukiidae (Acanthuroidei), with a new genus and two new species of Eocene luvarids. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 81: 1-45.

Decamps, P. 1986. Luvaridae. p. 998-999. In P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen & E. Tortonese (eds) Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Volume 2. Unesco, Paris.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Johnson, G.D. & A.C. Gill. in Paxton, J.R. & W.N. Eschmeyer (Eds). 1994. Encyclopedia of Fishes. Sydney: New South Wales University Press; San Diego: Academic Press. 240 pp.

Pepperell, J. 2010. Fishes of the Open Ocean a Natural History & Illustrated Guide. Sydney : University of New South Wales Press Ltd 266 pp.

Pollard, J. (ed.) 1980. G.P. Whitley's Handbook of Australian Fishes. North Sydney : Jack Pollard Publishing Pty Ltd 629 pp.

Rafinesque, C.S. 1810. Caratteri di alcuni Nouvi Generi e Nouve Specie di Animali e Piante della Sicilia con varie Osservazioni sopra i Medesimi. Palermo 105 pp. 20 pls.

Tyler, J.C., G.D. Johnson, I. Nakamura & B.B. Collette, 1989. Morphology of Luvarus imperialis (Luvaridae), with a phylogenetic analysis of the Acanthuridae (Pisces). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 485. Smithsonian Inst. Press, Washington, D.C. 78 p.

Whitley, G. 1940. The Second Occurrence of a Rare Fish (Luvarus) in Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 20(5): 325-326.

Winterbottom, R. 1993. Myological Evidence for the Phylogeny of Recent Genera of Surgeonfishes (Percomorpha, Acanthuridae), with Comments on the Acanthuroidei. Copeia 1993(1): 21-39.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37443001

Depth:0-200 m

Fishing:Apparently tastes delicious

Habitat:Pelagic, oceanic

Max weight:200 cm TL; 150 kg

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