Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 7 or 8 spines and 10-12 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 8 rays. Pectoral fin 16-18 rays. Body depth 2.9-3.9. Body elongate, robust. Inter-orbital area flat and naked. Preopercle broadly rounded. Hind nostril much longer than front nostril. Caudal fin emarginate. Colour: Two colour phase; both have 5 dark brown or black saddles, (although these may not be visible in some dark phase individuals). The pale phase is white with yellow fins and variable numbers of scattered dark-edged blue spots. The dark phase is brown red with many small dark-edged blue spots.
Habitat and Biology: Occurs on coral reefs from 4 to 90 m, most often in passes, but also seen in lagoon and seaward reefs with rich coral growth. Feeds exclusively on fishes, including other groupers.
Remarks: There has been confusion in the identification of Plectropomus laevis in the past because of its 2 colour phases. However, it can be easily identified because both phases have 5 dark dorsal saddles.