Spangled Emperor

Lethrinus Nebulosus
Spangled Emperor - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Lethrinus Nebulosus
Other names Green Snapper, Morwong, Northwest Snapper, Sand Bream, Sand Snapper, Yellow Sweetlip
Size Up to 93 cm (36.6 in)
Weight Up to 10 kg (22 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, coral & rocky reefs, lagoons, seagrass beds, mangroves, sandy & rocky areas
Depth Range
Spangled Emperor Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Spangled Emperor are more of a solitary fish but also known to school in small groups. Adults are commonly found over coral reefs, whilst juvenile fish can be found in seagrass beds and mangrove estuaries. Younger fish can be found in large schools which reduces as they age.
  • They are a non-migratory fish that are very active at night.
  • Spangled Emperor are carnivores, feeding on smaller fish, molluscs, crustaceans and polychaete worms.
  • Estimated lifespan is around 30 years with the fish maturing between 3 & 4 years of age.
  • The main predators of the Grass Emperor include sharks and larger predatory fish.
Species Interaction

Commercial & Recreational Fishing

Spangled Emperors like most of its species are a highly targeted fish as they have a strong fight and are a great table fish. The Spangled Emperor does have economic relevance and is commercially fished.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Lethrinidae

Genus: Lethrinus

Species: Lethrinus nebulosus

Conservation Status

Based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Spangled Emperors are currently categorised as “Least Concern”(LC).

LC is the lowest category on the scale for risk with “Extinct”(EX) being the highest.

Fish Taste Quality

Spangled Emperor are a good table fish. Often served whole or as fillets.

Taste Rating: 4/5

How to catch
Spangled Emperor

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Patternoster Rig, Running Sinker Rig, Artificial Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Lures, Bait jig, Octopus, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms, Soft plastics

Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure, Cast lures close to structure

Popularity: Highly Targeted

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