Monday, April 14, 2014

Coral Trout

Plectropomus leopardus
Meet the Coral Trout, also known as the Leopard Coral Grouper. These colorful fish make the western Pacific Ocean their home, and they can be found near the coral reefs that give them their name.

Coral Trout can be identified by their red and yellow bodies and their blue spots that have darker rings around them. They grow to a maximum of 2ft in length.

One amazing fact about these fish is that they are all born as females. No one really knows what triggers a female to male change, but they are usually well over a year old when it happens. The average length at change is around 1.5ft!

The spawning rituals of these fish are also pretty interesting. Males establish territories and they do dancing displays to attract females-- fanning out their fins and shaking from side to side. If a female likes what she sees, the two will spawn around sunset. This practice involves the pair swimming very quickly towards the surface and releasing the eggs and sperm into the water. The fertilized eggs float near the surface, and the larval fish will emerge after only a few days.

IUCN Status : Near Threatened
Location : Pacific Ocean
Size : Length up to 2ft (60cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Perciformes
Family : Serranidae -- Genus : Plectropomus -- Species : P. leopardus
Image :  Leonard Low

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