Monday, April 25, 2011

Red Emperor Fish

     Red emperor are part of the family of tropical snappers and sea perches, and are not truly part of the emperor family. They can grow to more than one metre long and weigh more than 22kg. They reach sexual maturity at about three and a half years, and at maturity they are around 50cm long. The adults live on coral reefs and sand flats.

Red emperors live in a variety of habitats including coral reef lagoons, reefs, sand flats and gravel patches.  They are found from shallow (5m) water to at least 180m.  Small juveniles frequently form commensal associations with sea-urchins.   Juveniles less than 20cm long are common in nearshore turbid waters, in mangrove areas or among both coast and deeper water offshore reefs.  Red emperors move to deeper water as they grow larger, with large fish often moving into shallower water during the winter months.  Red emperors form schools of similar-sized individual or are solitary

Red Emperors on the Great Barrier Reef are estimated to be 20-21 cm fork length at 1 year of age and 40cm at 3 years of age.  Red emperors reach a maximum total length of at least 100 cm, possibly 116cm fork length and live to at least 10 years of age.

Red emperor is a type of seaperch. Despite its entrenched name, it is not an emperor (Lethrinus spp). Crimson seaperch (Lutjanus erythropterus) or saddletail seaperch (Lutjanus malabaricus) are sometimes incorrectly sold as red emperor

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