Spotcheek Emperor

Lethrinus Rubrioperculatus
Spotcheek Emperor - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Lethrinus Rubrioperculatus
Other names Redeared Emperor, Rededged Emperor, Scarletcheek Emperor
Size Up to 50 cm (19.6 in)
Weight Up to 2 kg (4.4 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, edge of reefs in sandy & rubble areas
Depth Range
Spotcheek Emperor Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Mature Spotcheek Emperor are more of a solitary fish but can be found in small groups. They are commonly found near sandy areas near reef. Juvenile fish are know for forming large schools in shallow sandy areas.
  • Unlike many others in its species which inhabit shallower coastal waters, the Spotcheek has been recorded in deeper waters to 160 m (524 ft)
  • Spotcheek Emperors are carnivores, feeding on smaller fish, crustaceans, sea urchins and various molluscs.
  • Estimated lifespan is over 15 years with the fish maturing between 3 & 4 years of age.
  • Like many emperor fish, Spotcheek Emperors are functional protogynous hermaphrodite (able to change sex).
  • As many emperors look alike, the distinguishing factor for a Spotcheek is the red mark above its pectoral fins.
  • The main predators of the Spotcheek Emperor include sharks and larger predatory fish.
Species Interaction

Commercial & Recreational Fishing

Spotcheek Emperors are a highly targeted reef fish known as an excellent eating fish. They are a highly commercial fish do to their flesh quality and availability.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Lethrinidae

Genus: Lethrinus

Species: Lethrinus rubrioperculatus

Conservation Status

There is little information on the conservation status of the Spotcheek Emperors. This species has not been evaluated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
However, as its a fast growing species there are limited concerns of over fishing.

Fish Taste Quality

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

Taste Rating: 4/5

How to catch
Spotcheek Emperor

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Patternoster Rig, Running Sinker Rig

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

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

Popularity: Highly Targeted

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