Thumbprint emperor
  • Lethrinus harak
  • EnglishName: Thumbprint emperor
  • Local Name : Lah filolhu, Vilu filolhu
  • Size : Common to 30 cm; max. 50 cm
  • Family: LETHRINIDAE
  • Order : Perciformes
  • Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 10 spines and 9 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 8 rays. Pectoral fin with 13 rays. Body depth 2.6-2.8 in standard length. Body moderately deep. Posterior lateral teeth include distinct molars in adults. Inner surface of pectoral fin base densely scaled.
  • Colour: Olive green above and ligher below. Blue spots sometimes under eye and between nostrils. Throat and edge of lips rosy red. A large, black, oblong blotch often with a golden yellow rim present on side of body. All fins pinkish or rosy red. Vertical fins sometimes mottled or striped.
  • Habitat and Biology: Inhabits shallow sandy areas, coral rubbles, mangroves, lagoons and seagrass areas. Most often observed solitary. Feeds on benthic invertebrates, molluscs and small fish.
  • Distribution: Indo-West Pacific.
  • Remarks: Lethrinus harak is the least wary species of the genus and can approach easily. It is a common emperor on the shallow reef flats and sea grass areas of the Maldives.