Blackspot Tuskfish

Choerodon Schoenleinii
Blackspot Tuskfish - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Choerodon Schoenleinii
Other names Blue Tuskfish, Purple Groper, Tuskfish, Yellowbellied Tuskfish
Size Up to 1 m (3.2 ft)
Weight Up to 15.5 kg (34 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst sandy & weedy areas near seaward coral & rocky reefs
Depth Range 1 - 40 m (131 ft)
Blackspot Tuskfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Blackspot Tuskfish is a species of marine fish found along the eastern and western coasts of Australia, particularly around the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef.
  • The fish is primarily green-blue and has a black spot on the upper part of its body, from which it gets its name. It also has sharp, canine-like teeth that are used for hunting and feeding.
  • They are carnivores and primarily feed on invertebrates, including crustaceans, molluscs, and echinoderms. Their strong jaws and sharp teeth allow them to crush hard-shelled prey.
  • Blackspot Tuskfish are solitary creatures, usually found alone or in pairs. They are territorial and can exhibit aggressive behavior, particularly towards other tuskfish.
  • Blackspot Tuskfish have distinct breeding seasons, generally during the warmer months of the year, around November to March. They lay their eggs in open water, where they float freely until hatching. Interestingly, this species exhibits a behaviour known as protogynous hermaphroditism, where individuals start their life as females and later change to males.
  • During the night, Blackspot Tuskfish often dig themselves into the sandy seafloor or hide in the reef to sleep and avoid predators.
  • They are a long lived species with a estimated lifespan up to 30 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Snorkeling & Diving

The Blackspot Tuskfish is a popular target for recreational anglers due to its size, fighting ability, and the quality of its flesh. They are also popular with divers and snorkelers, especially given their vibrant colours and intriguing behaviour. They are known to use their strong jaws to flip over rocks and break open shellfish, showcasing their hunting skills.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Choerodon

Species: Choerodon Schoenleinii

Conservation Status

The Blackspot Tuskfish is listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, meaning it’s not currently considered at risk of extinction.

Fish Taste Quality

Blackspot Tuskfish are a great eating fish and are considered a delicacy. Their flesh is white, firm, and has a mild, sweet flavour that is well-suited to a variety of cooking methods.

Taste Rating: 4/5

How to catch
Blackspot Tuskfish

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Weed, Yabbies, Soft plastics

Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Targeted

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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