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Related FAQs: Snappers

Related Articles: Fusiliers, Family CaesionidaeSnappers,

/A Diversity of Aquatic Life

Indonesian Snappers, Family Lutjanidae


Bob Fenner



Aphareus furca (Lacepede 1802), the Small-Toothed Jobfish. East Africa to Polynesia in distribution. To sixteen inches in length. This one off of Queensland, Australia. 

Lutjanus biguttatus (Valenciennes 1830), the Two-Spot Banded Snapper. Indo-Pacific; mainly Solomons to Australia to the Philippines, out to the Maldives. To eight inches total length. One in the Maldives, another in S. Sulawesi.  http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/
Country/Country SpeciesSummary.cfm?Country=Indonesia&Genus=

Lutjanus bohar (Forsskal 1775), the Two-Spot Red Snapper. Indo-West Pacific; Eastern Africa to the Marquesas, south to Australia. To a maximum length of three feet. Shown, a juvenile in Fiji, an adult off of Queensland, Australia, and an aggregating, reproductive school off of Ras Mohamed, Egypt's Sinai, Red Sea. 
Lutjanus carponotatus (Richardson 1842), the Spanish Flag Snapper. Northeastern Indian Ocean and Western Pacific. This one off of Heron Island, Australia. To sixteen inches maximum length. Not used in the aquarium interest, but could definitely be. Good looking, hardy, stays small enough... numerous and easy to catch...

Lutjanus decussatus (Cuvier 1828), the Checkered Snapper. Western Pacific and Eastern Indian Ocean from New Guinea to Southern India. This one off of Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia. To one foot in length. 

Lutjanus fulviflamma (Forsskal 1775), the Black-Spot Snapper. East Africa, the Red Sea to Samoa. To fourteen inches in length. This one off of Queensland, Australia. Note the yellow lateral stripes that the similar L. russelli lacks.

Lutjanus fulvus (Forster 1801), the Blacktail Snapper. Indo-Pacific; East Africa to Marquesas, Line Islands, Japan, Australia. Occasionally used as an aquarium fish. Young found in sheltered bays, around mangroves. Adults on surrounding reefs near boulders. Feed at night on fishes, crustaceans, sea cucumbers, squid and octopus. Pix from Hawai'i (aquarium at Waikiki), Bunaken, Indonesia and Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, Polynesia.   http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=262&genusname=Lutjanus&speciesname=fulvus

Lutjanus kasmira (Forsskal 1775), the Common Bluestripe Snapper. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea, eastern Africa to the Marquesas, south to Australia, over to the Southeast Atlantic; South Africa. Here in the Maldives and Australia. Note the lower third of the body is white and the presence of only four blue stripes... distinguishing marks from the Five-Lined Snapper below.

Lutjanus quinquelineatus (Bloch 1790), the Five-Lined Seaperch. Persian Gulf to Fiji. To fifteen inches in length (most much smaller). This eight inch individual off of Heron Island, GBR, Australia.

The Emperor Snapper, Lutjanus sebae (Cuvier 1816), is a real beauty as a juvenile, but beware; it gets to be a real honker... more than three feet long in the wild! Another good reason to under- and infrequently feed an emperor is that their gorgeous color fades with growing size. Here is a juvenile in an urchin in N. Sulawesi, one of four inches in captivity, and an adult in Australian waters.

Lutjanus vitta (Quoy & Gaimard 1824), the Brown-Striped Red Snapper. Indo-West Pacific. To sixteen inches maximum length. This one off of Pulau Redang, Malaysia.  

The one "species to avoid" as being too touchy in this assemblage is the black beauty, Macolor niger. Some friends in the wet pet industry and other authors give this fish grand marks, but I have yet to see a juvenile of less than five inches live for any length of time. Make sure the one you are buying has been around a few weeks and is feeding. Below: An aquarium juvenile, intermediate (six inch long) stage individual in the Red Sea and ugly one foot adult of Macolor niger. Red Sea group at right.


In good stead with the Emperor and catch all "miscellaneous" snappers from the Indo-Pacific are the threadfin snappers, Symphorichthys spilurus (Gunther 1874) (aka the Majestic Snapper) and Symphorus nematophorus (Bleeker 1860) (the Blue-Lined Snapper) which must be seen in person to be fully appreciated. These two have golden yellow bodies flanked by bright blue horizontal bars, two vertical black head bands and a dark caudal spot. They look touchy but are as tough as the best snappers. To two and three feet maximum length respectively. Here are gorgeous juvenile and adult Majestics in captivity.

Symphorichthys spilurus (Gunther 1874), the Sailfin Snapper. Western Pacific. To two feet in length in the wild, about half that in captivity.

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