Rare in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region, from East Africa to South Korea and the Marquesas Islands. In Australia recorded from around Exmouth in Western Australia, across the tropical north, the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef in Queensland south to northern New South Wales and including Lord Howe Island.
Inhabits sandy and rubble areas of outer reef slopes. Depth range from 10 to 198 m.
Olive grey to brown body, sometimes with brown blotches, pale pink to reddish orange fins, small red spot on rear margin of operculum. Similar L. nebulosus has blue streaks on cheek. Feeds primarily on crustaceans, molluscs, echinoderms and small fishes. Grows to 50 cm, usually 30 cm.
Identification thanks to Jeff Johnson, Mark McGrouther, Australasian Fishes, iNaturalist at https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/44183115
Lethrinus rubrioperculatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Apr 2020, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2465
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=lethrinus+rubrioperculatus. Accessed 29/04/2020.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://www.fishbase.ca/summary/Lethrinus-rubrioperculatus.html. Accessed 29/04/2020.