The coral trout, leopard coral grouper,
or leopard coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus)
is a species of fish in the Serranidae family. Native
to the western Pacific Ocean, its natural habitat
includes open seas and coral reefs. Coral trout
are piscivorous; juveniles mostly eat crustaceans,
especially prawns, and adults feed upon a variety
of reef fish, particularly damselfish.
Coral trout are the favorite target fish for all
sectors of the fishery because they are a good food
fish and command high market prices locally and
overseas. The total commercial catch of coral trout
was reported at over 1500 tonnes in 1998.
Initially described by French naturalist Bernard
Germain de Lacépède in 1802, the Coral
trout belongs to a family of fish known as the Serranidae.
This family includes groupers and coral cod (not
related to true cod), which are all characterized
by having three spines on the gill cover and a large
mouth lined with more than one row of sharp teeth.
The Coral trout is found in the waters around American
Samoa, Australia, Brunei, Cocos (Keeling) Islands,
Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Micronesia,
New Caledonia, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau,
Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, Singapore,
Solomon Islands, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam,and Egypt
. Its natural habitat includes open seas and coral
reefs. Studies suggest that coral trout move around
considerably within a single reef, though often
no further than 500 meters (1,600 ft) from
it. Movement between neighboring reefs does not
occur to a large extent; however, there have been
a few cases where fish have moved from one reef
to another. Much of this movement may be the result
of fish moving towards or away from spawning sites.