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Coral Trout is a medium-sized diurnally active grouper easily observed underwater, therefore vulnerable to spear fishing but also amenable to accurate visual census surveys. They can live up to 14-19 years.
Its natural habitat includes open seas and coral reefs. Studies suggest that coral trout move around considerably within a single reef, though often no further than 500 meters (1,600 ft) from it.
Coral trout are protogynous hermaphrodites. They start their lives as females and change sex later in life. The trigger of this sex change is unknown.research has determined that the sex ratio differs in different areas of the Great Barrier Reef, and may differ between reefs opened and protected from fishing. Sex ratios are an important consideration for management, as changes could seriously affect reproduction and thus the number of juveniles coming into the fishery in future years. All length classes of fish may have both male and female individuals. However, small fish are generally females, while most large fish are males.