Spotcheek emperor
  • Lethrinus rubrioperculatus
  • EnglishName: Spotcheek emperor
  • Local Name : Kalhihi
  • 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 3.0-3.4 in standard length. Body moderately elongate. Interorbital space flat or only slightly convex. Wide scaleless area on upper posterior margin of opercle. Eye placed very near dorsal profile. Caudal fin lunate; upper lobe usually longer.
  • Colour: Body olive-grey or brown with scattered irregular small black blotches. Lips and a spot on upper edge of operculum usually red. Fins pale or pinkish.
  • Habitat and Biology: Inhabits sandy and rubble areas of outer reef slopes to depths of 160 m. Feeds mostly on crustaceans, fish, echinoderms and molluscs.
  • Distribution: Widespread in the Indo-West Pacific.
  • Remarks: Lethrinus rubrioperculatus is a common and widespread species but it is surprising that it was described and named as late as 1978. It was assumed that this species represented the adult form of L. variegatus. However, L. variegatus is much smaller. A good-food fish.