Beware of the sharp dorsal spines when handling coral trout. To maximise their eating qualities these fish should be killed humanely by iki jime, or a firm knock to the head before placing them in an ice slurry after bleeding.
- Olive to red brown or pink with numerous small bright blue spots along the flanks. There are 5 species of coral trout in Australian waters, distinguished mainly by their colouration, fin shapes and counts of gill rakers and fin rays. All have similar brain location.
- Coral trout are protogynous hermaphrodites which mature first as females at 2-3 years old (30-35 cm long) before changing to males at a broad range of sizes, beginning at around 35 cm. Some fish may mature directly as males.
- Maximum reported age 26 years.
- Coral trouts (Plectropomus spp.) occur on coral and rocky reefs throughout the tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific region. Some species, (e.g. Plectropomus pessuliferus) occur as far west as eastern Africa, while others e.g. barcheeked coral trout (Plectropomus maculatus) can be encountered in estuaries.
- Consumption of large coral trout has caused ciguatera poisoning in some parts of their range.
Fish Size Common Length:
35-60 cm, maximum size around 120 cm and 25 kg. Larger specimens may be ciguatoxic in some regions.