> Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes
large-scaled fishes are sometimes seen on some of our shores, among
What are emperors? Emperors belong
to Family Lethrinidae. According to FishBase: the family has 5 genera
and 39 species in the tropical Indo-Pacific. Some can reach 1m long.
They are sometimes also called emperor-snappers.
Features: Body typically fish-shaped
with large scales in a 'distinctive pattern' -- a kind of diamond
pattern. They have large eyes, thick lips and canine teeth. Young
fishes tend to be found nearer the shore while adults are found offshore.
What do they eat? They hunt on
the sea bottom for a variety of small animals. These are picked off
by sight, or the fishes may sift through the sand by taking a mouthful
and filtering the edible bits out through gill rakers. Those with
molar-like teeth crunch on hard-shelled animals. Most feed at night,
usually in sandy or rubble areas near reefs.
Baby emperors: In some species,
females can change gender to males.
Human uses: Large species are
important commercially as seafood. In some countries, they are the
most important catch by weight.
Status and threats: None of our
emperors are listed among the threatened animals of Singapore. However,
like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by
human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Over-collection
and over-fishing can also impact local populations.
on Singapore shores
Lethrinidae recorded for Singapore
Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity
*Lim, Kelvin K. P. & Jeffrey K. Y. Low, 1998. A Guide to the Common
Marine Fishes of Singapore.