About This Fish

Tricky Snapper

The tricky snapper (Lethrinus laticaudis) is a perch like ray finned fish which is also known as grass emperor or grass sweetlip. It belongs to the family Lethrinidae under order Perciformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is distributed throughout northern Australia and southern Indonesia, including Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The juvenile is often found in seagrass beds or in mangroves, but adult is more common on coral reefs.

The tricky snapper is elongated and laterally flattened. Body is tan, brown or yellow with scattered irregular blotches. The head is brown or yellow with blue dots on cheeks. It has short blue stripes which radiates in front and behind the eye. Sometimes a number of blue cross stripes are present between the eyes. The fins are pale or yellow with mottling and the caudal fin is pinkish-red in color. Cheek is without scales and the inner base of pectoral fin is densely covered with scales. Mouth is terminal with pointed snout. The caudal fin is heavy and moderately forked. Lateral line is single and complete which runs from upper margin of operculum to the base of the caudal fin. Scales have distinct black markings in the centre on anterior upper sides. Dorsal fin is long and it is divided into spinous and soft parts. Spinous part contains 10 spines and soft part bears 9 soft rays while anal fin contains 3 spines and 8 soft rays. It feeds mainly on crustaceans and fishes. It matures as female at 32 cm in length and then changes sex to male at 38 to 44 cm in length. The tricky snapper can grow up to 70 cm in length and 5.6 kg in weight.

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