Two-Spot Red Snapper
The two-spot red snapper has many different names, including Bohar snapper, kelp bream and twinspot snapper. It is widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific, and locally abundant in some areas. It favours outer coral reef slopes, and may thrive at depths of up to 180
metres. Occurring singly or in small groups, the two-spot red snapper feeds mainly on smaller fish. It attains a maximum length of 90 centimetres, and is pink or red in colour. It has a bright yellow eye, and juveniles have two silver-white spots on either side. Some studies suggest that the two-spot red snapper may live for up to 55 years. It is susceptible to overfishing, but avoided by some fishermen due to an association with ciguatera poisoning. The IUCN Red List classifies the species as Least Concern.
The bigeye snapper is found throughout the Indo-West Pacific, and as such it has several different local names. These include bigeye seaperch, golden-striped snapper, rosy snapper and yellow snapper. It is a common fish, considered abundant in many parts of its range. It lives at depths of
up to (and probably exceeding) 90 metres, and feeds on fish and crustaceans. Most often seen in large schools of more than 100 individuals, the bigeye snapper sometimes mixes with other Lutjanus species. It grows to a maximum of 30 centimetres in length, and can be identified by its disproportionately large eye. This species is silvery white or blue in colour, with a broad yellow stripe running the length of its body. Its dorsal, anal and caudal fins are also yellow.
Also referred to as the paddletail snapper, the red snapper or the hunched snapper, the humpback snapper is found throughout the Indo-West Pacific on coral reefs as deep as 150 metres. Adults form spawning aggregations off the east coast of Africa in
spring and summer, and juveniles spend the first stages of their life sheltering in seagrass beds or mangrove swamps. Fully grown humpback snappers often gather in large schools, and feed on small fish and invertebrates. They grow to a maximum length of 50 centimetres, and can live as long as 24 years. Humpback snappers are pale pink or red in colour, with dark red fins, a yellow eye and a steeply domed forehead. They are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
The blue-banded snapper is native to the Indo-Pacific, and in South Africa is found as far south as East London in the Eastern Cape province. Throughout its range, it has many different names, including common bluestripe, blue-banded hussar and blue-banded sea
perch. It is usually found at depths of up to 60 metres, but in the Marquesas Islands and the Red Sea, it has been recorded as deep as 265 metres. Juveniles inhabit sea grass beds and mangrove estuaries, while adults frequently congregate around coral outcrops and wreck sites. They grow up to 40 centimetres in length, and have an eclectic diet that includes fish, crabs, plankton and algae. Blue-banded snapper are yellow, with a pale belly and a series of bold blue horizontal lines.
In some parts of its Indo-Pacific range, the blubberlip snapper is known as the blue-spotted sea perch, the Maori bream, the scribbled snapper (and a slew of other regional names). It is relatively widespread, and can inhabit depths of at least 100 metres. Blubberlip
snappers occur singly or in small groups of up to 20 individuals, and usually favour deeper reefs. The juveniles, however, are found on shallow reef flats near freshwater run-offs. With a maximum length of 80 centimetres, this is one of the largest members of its genus, and also one of the wariest. Blubberlip snappers are silver grey, with yellow-tipped fins and a robust shape. Despite being fished extensively as a valued source of food, they are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
The one-spot snapper is widespread in the Indo-Pacific region, where it is known by many different names including black spot snapper, blue-lined snapper and Moses perch. It inhabits coral reefs shallower than 60 metres, and especially
favours areas with plenty of available shelter (in the form of caves, overhangs or wrecks). It primarily hunts at night and preys on fish and crustaceans. The one-spot snapper spawns off East Africa in February and November, and reaches a maximum length of 60 centimetres. It has yellow fins and is grey or yellowish grey in colour during the day; and at night it changes to red or brown. Amazingly, the black spot that gives this species its name can be made to fade away or become apparent again at will.
The emperor snapper is widely distributed throughout the Indo-West Pacific, and is known by many different names – including government bream, king snapper and Seba’s snapper. Often found in areas with an abundance
of sea urchins, this species favours rocky or coral reefs. It has been recorded at depths of up to 180 metres, and may live even deeper. Juvenile emperor snappers start their lives in mangrove swamps or turbid inshore waters, but move into deeper water as they mature. Adults often form schools of similar-sized fish, and may live as long as 40 years. Emperor snappers attain a maximum length of 116 centimetres. Young fish are white or pale pink with three broad dark red bands, while adults are uniformly red.