Sport Fishing - - FISH FACTS - — Ben Dig­gles

My wife and I were fish­ing a reef off Taha’a in French Poly­ne­sia and caught this fish on a white buck­tail in about 20 feet of wa­ter. Our guide, a lo­cal, knew the name in Poly­ne­sian (which I can’t re­mem­ber) but not in English. Can you help me iden­tify it? Tim Huyck Amherst, New Hamp­shire Hi, Tim. The English name for that fish is longnose em­peror (Lethri­nus oli­vaceus). This species is oc­ca­sion­ally en­coun­tered by an­glers fish­ing on coral reefs through­out the Indo-West Pa­cific re­gion. Also known as long­face em­peror, it’s the largest mem­ber of the fam­ily Lethrinidae, grow­ing to more than 40 inches long and weigh­ing up to 30 pounds or so. The IGFA all-tackle record is 22 pounds, 13 ounces, caught off Ja­pan.

Longnose em­per­ors are eas­ily distin­guished from all other em­per­ors by their dis­tinc­tive head, with its long, pointed “nose.” Coloration is olive-green dor­sally, with mot­tled blotches fad­ing to creamy white ven­trally. Ju­ve­niles, such as the one you caught, are found over sandy ar­eas and patch reefs in shal­low la­goons less than 30 feet deep, of­ten in large schools. How­ever, adults are usu­ally soli­tary and are found in deeper waters on off­shore reefs and along deep coral drop-offs to depths of 500 feet. Like other lethrinids, longnose em­per­ors feed mainly on crus­taceans, mol­lusks (in­clud­ing squid) and smaller fish. Sexes ap­pear to be sep­a­rate through­out their lives, and both males and fe­males ma­ture at 15 to 16 inches long (4 to 5 years old). In equa­to­rial re­gions, these fish spawn monthly on new-moon pe­ri­ods, but in more tem­per­ate parts of their range — such as along the Great Bar­rier Reef — spawn­ing is re­stricted to the spring months. This is a long-lived species, and be­cause of this, the largest longnose em­per­ors have gained a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing cigua­toxic in places like New Cale­do­nia.

Longnose em­peror

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