Common Coral Trout, Plectropomus leopardus (Lacépède 1802)
A Common Coral Trout, Plectropomus leopardus, on the Great Barrier Reef, QueenslandAugust 2011. Source: John Sear / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial
A large olive green to reddish brown or orange-red coral trout covered in regularly-spaced bright blue spots (except below), and a blue ring around the eye (may be broken up). Common Coral Trout can rapidly change their colour, and often assume a mottled pattern when hunting. This species is often mistaken for the Barcheek Coral Trout, Plectropomus maculatus, which has some elongate spots or dashes on the head region.
Common Coral Trout, Plectropomus leopardus (Lacépède 1802)
Known in Australia from Beacon Island, Western Australia, and Ashmore and Cartier islands in the Timor Sea, around the tropical north to Sydney, New South Wales, including reefs in the Coral Sea; also at Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean, and the Lord Howe Island region in the Tasman Sea.
Elsewhere, the species occurs in the tropical Western Pacific, north to southern Japan, and east to the Caroline Islands, Fiji and Tonga.
Individuals or pairs usually swim slowly near schools of small fishes, or rest on coral or on the bottom.
Coral trout are protogynous hermaphrodites - changing sex from male to female during their life cycle. They form spawning aggregations around the new moon and females produce tiny eggs that float just below the surface.
Studies show that larvae from larger females may have an advantage in transitioning from the newly hatched stage to being able to feed by themselves Carter et al. (2015).
|The similar Barcheek Coral Trout, Plectropomus maculatus, usually has some elongate spots (vs small rounded dots or spots) on the head region. The Bluespotted Coral Trout, P. laevis, has dark saddles along the back and a truncate caudal fin.|
Holocentrus leopardus Lacépède 1802, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons: 332, 367. Type locality: 'Mer des Indes'.
Bray, D.J. 2019
Common Coral Trout, Plectropomus leopardus (Lacépède 1802)
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