Plectropomus areolatus

Squaretail coral trout EME
Characteristic features:

Head and body greenish grey to brownish pink with many close-set dark-edged blue spots, most spots of similar size, fins also spotted.


Up to 80 cm TL.

Important conditions and life stages:

Plectropomus areolatus in less than fresh have a faded colour, appearing pale brownish-red or pale brown, dark spots on body fade but are still visible and white margin on tail becomes translucent or pale.


Indo–West Pacific in tropical waters.


Coral reefs, to 20 m depth.

Indonesian fisheries:

Caught with hook-and-line.

Similar species:

Plectropomus laevis
Blacksaddle coral trout

Plectropomus laevis feature

Plectropomus laevis differs in having pectoral-fin rays 16–18 (vs. 15–16); interorbital area scaleless (vs. with embedded scales) and 4–10 developed gill rakers on lower limb (vs. 2–7).

Plectropomus leopardus
Leopard coral trout

Plectropomus leopardus feature

Plectropomus leopardus differs in having a blue ring around the eye (vs. no blue ring) and no spots ventrally (vs. spots ventrally).

Plectropomus maculatus
Spotted coral trout

Plectropomus maculatus feature

Plectropomus maculatus differs in having no spots ventrally (vs. spots ventrally) and fewer spots on head, 3–7 on cheek (below and behind the eye to rear edge of preopercle) (vs. numerous spots on head).

Plectropomus oligacanthus
Highfin coral trout

Plectropomus oligacanthus feature

Plectropomus oligacanthus differs in having horizontal to oblique blue lines on head, vertical blue lines or dashes along sides of body (at least in adults) and spots elsewhere (vs. uniformly sized spots over head and body) and dorsal and anal fins with blue lines and spots (vs. spots only).

Plectropomus pessuliferus
Roving coral grouper

Plectropomus pessuliferus feature

Plectropomus pessuliferus differs in having some spots on head horizontally elongate and some on the sides of body vertically elongate (vs. uniformly sized round to oval blue spots over head and body) and spots few or absent ventrally (vs. spots ventrally).

Variola spp.

Variola albimarginata feature
Variola albimarginata

Variola spp. differ in having 9 dorsal-fin spines (vs. 7–8); lower edge of preopercle smooth (vs. with 1 to 3 enlarged spines) and caudal fin lunate (vs. truncate to slightly emarginate).

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