Lethrinus lentjan 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Lethrinidae

Scientific Name: Lethrinus lentjan (Lacepède, 1802)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Pinkear Emperor, Purple-headed Emperor, Redspot Emperor
French Capitaine Lentilles, Empereur Dame Berris, Empereur Lentille
Spanish Emperador de Lentejuelas
Bodianus lentjan Lacepède, 1802
Lethrinus argenteus Valenciennes, 1830
Lethrinus cinereus Valenciennes, 1830
Lethrinus cocosensis Bleeker, 1854
Lethrinus croceopterus Valenciennes, 1830
Lethrinus flavescens Valenciennes, 1830
Lethrinus fusciceps Macleay, 1878
Lethrinus glyphodon Günther, 1859
Lethrinus mahsenoides Valenciennes, 1830
Lethrinus opercularis Valenciennes, 1830
Lethrinus virescens Valenciennes, 1830
Pentapodus nubilus (Cantor, 1849)
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. and Van der Laan, R. (eds). 2016. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 29 September 2016. Available at: (Accessed: 29 September 2016).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-09
Assessor(s): Carpenter, K.E., Lawrence, A. & Myers, R.
Reviewer(s): Ralph, G. & Linardich, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ralph, G.

Lethrinus lentjan is widely distributed. It is a sequential protogynous hermaphrodite and likely lives to at least 19 years. It is a component of commercial and artisanal fisheries throughout its range and has experienced some localized overfishing. Significant population declines on a global level are not suspected at this time; therefore, it is listed as Least Concern. Monitoring and regulation are recommended in areas of heavy fishing pressure.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Lethrinus lentjan occurs from East Africa and the Mozambique Channel, Mauritius, Seychelles and west coast of Madagascar to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, east to the Marshall Islands and Tonga, north to Ryukyu Islands, south to Western Australia, Queensland (Australia), Lord Howe Island and New Caledonia, excluding the western and eastern coasts of India (Sato and Walker 1984, Carpenter and Allen 1989, Carpenter 2001). This species is found to depths of at least 50 m. 

Countries occurrence:
Australia; Bahrain; British Indian Ocean Territory; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Comoros; Disputed Territory (Paracel Is., Spratly Is.); Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Fiji; French Southern Territories (Mozambique Channel Is.); India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Japan; Jordan; Kenya; Kuwait; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritius; Mayotte; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; Myanmar; New Caledonia; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Qatar; Réunion; Saudi Arabia; Seychelles; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Tonga; United Arab Emirates; Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Wallis and Futuna; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – western central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – eastern central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):50
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Lethrinus lentjan is heavily exploited in the multi-gear, multi-species seagrass and coral reef fisheries in Mombasa, Kenya. Populations in this area exhibited both growth and recruitment overfishing. Lethrinus lentjan was among the three most abundant species which accounted for over 60% of the individuals in the catch. Across all gear types over 90% of the landed L. lentjan were below the length of maturity, with 99.6% of those landed by beach seine being under the length of maturity (Hicks and McClanahan 2012). 

This species was among the top five dominating fish species identified in Chwaka village (near Zanzabar, Tanzania) fish market in both the monsoon and the dry season, contributing 7 to 10% of the observed catch (Torre-Castro et al. 2014). Twenty-six percent of the total catch of fishes in were classified as being juvenile. Eleven percent of the total juveniles caught were L. lentjan (Unsworth et al. 2014). 

The modal age of all samples of L. lentjan, which indicates full recruitment to the common gear configuration used in the Great Barrier Reef line fisheries, was 8 years, which corresponds to 42% of the estimated maximum age of 19 years (Currey et al. 2013). In Northern Australia this species was common in trawl surveys operating at depths of 55 to 64 m (Ramm and Xiao 1995). The species components of these mixed stocks exhibit variation in lifespan, maximum size, and spawning season. Variations in life history among a suite of species taken in the same fishery are likely to result in different responses to fishing pressure (Currey et al. 2013). 

This species is among the most important species taken in handline fisheries in New Caledonia (Kulbicki et al. 2000). It is rare in the Solomon Islands (Green et al. 2006) and a low abundance was reported in the Great Barrier Reef (1994-2014) and has not been recorded in underwater surveys since 2007 (AIMS unpublished data). In the Philippines, this species is very heavily exploited but is still locally abundant and appears commonly in the markets (K. Carpenter pers. comm. 2015); however, often only juveniles are represented in the markets. In the Fiji, the recorded density for this species was 0.1/ha (S. Jupiter, unpublished data). 

This species is a component of commercial and artisanal fisheries in Kuwait. Total fisheries production has decreased by approximately 25% from the late 1980s to the mid 2000s (Al-Zaidan et al. 2013). Grandcourt et al. (2011) complied size frequency data for L. lentjan in the southern Gulf from commercial catches made off the coast of Emirate of Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates between September 2008 and August 2009. Biological data was collected from individuals purchased from commercial catches during the same time period. The mean age and size at sexual maturity for male L. lentjan was 1.8 years and 24.6 cm Lm and 2.4 years and 27.7 cm Lfor females. The ratio of males to females in the southern Gulf was estimated as 1 : 1.9 (M:F), though Grandcourt et al. (2011) noted the samples were significantly female biased. Grandcourt et al. (2011) estimated the natural, fishing and total mortality for L. lentjan to be 0.22 year-1, 0.22 year-1, and 0.44 year-1, respectively. The mean age and size at first capture was 0.78 years and 14.8 cm Lc50. Juvenile retention for Lethrinus lentjan was 36.8%. Grandcourt et al. (2011) concluded that Lethrinus lentjan is currently exploited sustainably due to L. lentjan estimated fishing mortality (0.22 year-1), which was considerably less than F0.1 (0.75). The fishing mortality was also lower than both biological reference points, target (FSB40 = 0.56) and limit (FSB30 = 0.73). Between 2001-2002, Paighambari and Daliri (2012) sampled shrimp trawl fisheries by-catch composition in the Bushehr province (Iranian waters). During the 2001 fishing season, 7.249 kg of Lethrinus lentjan were collected as by-catch, which comprised of 0.044% of the total catch, respectively. CPUE was determined to be 0.070 kg/h, respectively (Paighambari and Daliri 2012). Between 0-1 kg of Lethrinus lentjan were collected as by-catch from September 2010-January 2011 in Kuwait's shrimp trawl fishery, in which 100% were retained (Chen et al. 2013). Aggregate FAO RECOFI landings show an overall increasing trend from 2,024 tonnes in 2000 to 12,375 tonnes in 2011. A peak of 13,537 tonnes was collected in 2009. Landings from UAE show an increase. This species is considered under exploited in Qatar (MOE technical report 2010). Landings in Abu Dhabi have fluctuated between 93 and 170 mt per year between 2005 and 2012 (S. Hartman pers comm. 2013). This is a fast-growing, short-lived species with high natural mortality (Grandcourt et al. 2011). Aggregate global landings show an overall increasing trend from 2,180 in 2000 to 12,639 tonnes in 2011. A peak of 13,791 tonnes was collected in 2009.
In Muttom, southwest India, this species was among the most frequently landed species in the late 1980s (Lazarus et al. 1994).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Lethrinus lentjan inhabits coastal, sandy areas, coral reefs, and deep lagoons to depths of 50 m (Sato and Walker 1984, Carpenter and Allen 1989). Lethrinus lentjan diet consists of crustaceans, molluscs (Sato and Walker 1984), echinoderms, polychaetes and fishes (Carpenter and Allen 1989). Juveniles prefer amphipod and crustacean larvae, while adults target crustaceans, molluscs, and echinoderms (Toor 1964). Grandcourt et al. (2011) recorded Lethrinus lentjan maximum age to be 11 years in the southern Persian Gulf. However, Grandcourt (2002) recorded a maximum age of 19 years for Lethrinus lentjan in the Seychelles. Lethrinus lentjan spawns from April to June (Grandcourt et al. 2011). This species was found to be the most specific fish predator of the urchin Echinometra mathaei (Westera et al. 2003). 

This species is a protogynous hermaphrodite and exhibits a protracted spawning season (Currey et al. 2013). In some areas, particularly Thailand, this species has been observed forming spawning aggregations (Tamelander et al. 2008).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Lethrinus lentjan is a very important commercial species throughout its range and is caught using handlines, traps and gillnets (Al-Kayat and Al-Ansi 2007). Lethrinus lentjan is also collected as bycatch in shrimp trawl fisheries (Paighambari and Daliri 2012). Lethrinus lentjan is a component of mixed-species stocks off western Australia (Currey et al. 2013) and throughout its range. Lethrinus lentjan is marketed fresh (Sato and Walker 1984) and is a major component of long-line fisheries in Malaysia (Teh et al. 2005). In the southern Persian Gulf, L. lentjan is collected using traditional wooden dhows using baited dome-shaped wire traps (Grandcourt et al. 2011) and is very common in markets in the region (Carpenter et al. 1997). In Qatar, this species is commercially valuable (Sivasubramaniam and Ibrahim 1982, Al-Kayat and Al-Ansi 2007). Lethrinids are dominant features of fish landings in many parts of the Pacific. In Oceania, lethrinids are components of reef and lagoon and deep-slope species stocks, and are sometimes taken with small pelagics. Lethrinids are the main targeted reef fish species in Fiji. Commercial hand-line fishing primarily targets lethrinids in Guam in waters less than 150 m. Lethrinids are landed using hand-lines, spears, surrounding nets, and drive-in nets, and occasionally using spears and beach seines (Dalzell et al. 1996).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Lethrinus laticaudis is heavily fished in parts of its range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known species-specific conservation measures for Lethrinus lentjan. It is found in marine protected areas in parts of its range. This species has undergone regional extinction-risk assessment in the Persian Gulf, and was assessed as Least Concern in that region.

Citation: Carpenter, K.E., Lawrence, A. & Myers, R. 2016. Lethrinus lentjan. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T16720036A16722340. . Downloaded on 16 October 2018.
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