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Coral Trout (Plectrodomus maculatus) (Plectropomus leopardus) Photographs and Information

Coral Trout is also known as Leopard Fish (Plectropomus leopardus)

Coral Trout range in colour from pink to red to brown, with small brilliant blue spots over the body and head.  Coral trout are beautifully marked, robust, predatory reef fish of tropical waters. They belong to the same large group of grouper-like fish as the tropical Australian saltwater cods (Serranidae). Coral trout have large mouths and sharp, widely-spaced canine teeth. Colouration varies between species and locations; from greenish-brown in shallow water, through brick-red to bright red in deeper water, but always with an overlay of blue or red spots. The eye is red around an elongated pupil.

Coral Trout are sometimes confused with Tomato or Coral Cod which have similar markings.  However the Coral Trout has an inward-curved tail and 7 or 8 spines in the first dorsal fin, the Coral Cod has a rounded tail and nine spines in the first dorsal.

There are several closely related members of the family Plectropoma in Australian waters, the most common being P. maculatum. Coral trout are often known simply as "trout" in many northern waters, although they are totally unrelated to the freshwater fishes of the same name.

The coral trouts belong to the same family (Serranidae) as the rockcods.

The Coral Trout is a protogynous hermaphrodite, that is, the individual becomes sexually mature first as a female and then later changes its sex to a male.  It is only one sex at a time and cannot self fertilise.

Most Coral Trout mature as females when they are about 22cm long and about 2 years old.   At this time a mature female Coral Trout can product 83,000 eggs a year.  A 4 year old female can produce about 458,000 eggs a year.

Coral trout are widely dispersed around coral reef waters of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.  They grow to about 110cm and can weigh more than 20kg.  Generally the largest Coral Trout are found well offshore.  Although basically a bottom-dwelling fish, Coral Trout frequently cruise and hunt well off the seabed and are capable of bursts of great speed.

Coral Trout can be usually caught on a wide variety of cut fish baits, but they will also take trolled lures, jigs and live baits.

Coral Trout (Plectrodomus maculatus) (Plectropomus leopardus) Photo

Map showing where Coral Trout are found in Australian Waters

Scientific Name Plectrodomus maculatus
Location Tropical waters of northern Australia
Season All year round
Size To about 110cm
Australian Species Code 37 311905
Taste, Texture Firm white flesh.  Excellent eating.


Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Coral Trout fillet.

Kilojoules n/a
Cholesterol 25 mg
Sodium n/a
Total fat (oil) 0.6 g
Saturated fat 32% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 16% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 52% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 9 mg
Omega-3, DHA 149 mg
Omega-6, AA 27 mg

Coral Trout

Fresh Coral Trout from Australia, Queensland coral trout

Angling for Coral Trout:

Saltwater Habitat. Caught near reef areas. The scarlet or red coloured coral trout are typically taken in deep water (up to 100 m). The bulk of coral trout taken by anglers fall to traditional bottom-fishing techniques employing cut fish flesh, prawns or squid baits, but the species also responds well to more sophisticated sport fishing methods.


Cooking Coral Trout:

Coral Trout are a highly prized table fish with firm white flesh. The coral trout has moist, firm, white meat and is a superb table fish, considered by most reef fishermen to be even tastier than the sweetlip, and only a short distance behind the red emperor and the barramundi cod in terms of flavour.


Commercial Fishing for Coral Trout:

Reef fish are harvested throughout the Queensland coast - from the NSW border to the Torres Straits although most of the catch is harvested in the waters between Bundaberg and Cooktown. Coral reef fish are caught by hook and line along the length of the Great Barrier Reef from the Torres Strait south to Fraser Island, and from the inshore reefs to the outer barrier reefs.


More links about Coral Trout Information

Information and links from Australian Government Fisheries Statistics, CRC Reef research centre, line fishing on the great barrier reef, importers of coral trout, exporters of Coral Trout, seafood processors




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