Lethrinus enigmaticus (Smith, 1959)
Lethrinus enigmaticus (Smith, 1959)
Genus: , ,

Scientific Name: Lethrinus enigmaticus

English Name: Blackeye emperor

Creole Name: Laskar

French Name: Lascar

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines: 10; Dorsal rays: 9; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 8.

Body moderately deep and yellowish bronze or grey, 7-9 dark bars on upper side. Becoming lighter ventrally sometimes with three bronze stripes on lower side. Head grey, 
brown or bronze sometimes with a series of cross stripes on upper head and snout. A light streak radiating from eye to anterior nostril, often stands out as yellow in pale 
specimens. Posterior nostril an elongate oblong longitudinal opening about halfway between orbit and anterior nostril. Lower edge of orbit may have light blue to purplish 
spots. The maxilla is reddish. The fins are pale, yellowish or bronze. Specimens are often seen with a contrasting light blue lower lip. It seems likely that this coloration 
relates to the breeding cycle. Local fishers however attribute this to the fish eating sea urchins.


Maturity: Lm 25 cm FL. Range unknown. Max Length: 55.0 cm TL

Habitat and Ecology:

Found on coral reefs, seagrass beds and sandy areas adjacent to reefs (depth 10-50 m).  Feeds on echinoderms, crustaceans, other fish, and molluscs. Smaller more abundant 
females than males have been confirmed for the Saya de Malha population (Carpenter & Allen 1989).

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is caught in the handline fishery, where it is a common and sometimes abundant component of the catch, 
and to a lesser extent in the trap fishery. Catches indicate it can occur in large numbers on the outer banks of the Mahe Plateau, where it is sometimes caught in large 
bi/tri-species catches with L. mahsena and/or Lutjanus gibbus (J. Nevill pers obs).


Thought to be endemic species to Seychelles and the Saya de Malha bank.  It thrives in areas of low coral cover and is therefore not likely to be heavily impacted by recent 
coral cover declines in the Indian Ocean.


Carpenter, K.E. & Allen, G.R. (1989). FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 9 Emperor Fishes and Large-eye Breams of the World (Family Lethrinidae). An annotated and Illustrated 
Catalogue of Lethrinid Species Known to Date. UNFAO Rome. ISBN 92-5-102889-3
Carpenter, K. et al. (2010). Lethrinus enigmaticus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List 2010: http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T154705A4611430.en. (10/05/19).
Froese, R. & D. Pauly. (Eds.) (2019). https://www.fishbase.se/summary/Lethrinus-enigmaticus.html (10/05/19).
Nevill, J. (2013). A Species Identification Guide for Commonly Caught Fish in the Seychelles Near-Shore Artisanal Fishery. GOS/UNDP/GEF.


Nevill, J.E.G. (2019). Lethrinus enigmaticus, Blackeye emperor. Seychelles Seatizens. www.seatizens.sc. https://seatizens.sc/species/lethrinus-enigmaticus-smith-1959/ (updated 16/07/22) 

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