The Dory Snapper (Lutjanus fulviflamma) is also known as the Blackspot Snapper. They are reasonably common inhabitants of rubble areas and reef tops in Tanzania but are becoming less common.
Dory Snapper have a typical snapper shape and the body has a silver color with a series of thin horizontal yellow lines across the body. The fins are distinctly yellow and there is a very prominent black spot slightly above mid body in the rear dorsal area. This black spot makes them easily recognizable from a distance but it is easy to confuse them with the Ehrenberg’s Snapper and the One-spot Snapper. The easy way to distinguish them against the Ehrenberg’s snapper is by the more pronounced yellow horizontal lines and the yellow fins as well as the more pinkish face on the Dory Snapper. The One-spot Snapper has no yellow lines on the body. The largest specimens we have seen have been around 22 cm but they grow up to 35 cm.
DORY SNAPPER IN THE WILD
The Dory Snapper is generally seen solitary but this may be as a result of overfishing in the areas we have dived in.
Dory Snapper are widely distributed across the tropical Indo-Pacific, from East Africa up to the Red Sea and across to the Ryukyu Islands in southern Japan and down to North Eastern Australia and Samoa. We have seen them on reef tops and on rubble areas down to depths of approximately 20 meters.
Dory Snapper have a varied diet, feeding on fishes and crustaceans. The juveniles are reported to favor crustaceans while the adults prefer small fishes. Their diets vary with maturity and locally available prey items.
Dory Snapper reach maturity at approximately 1.6 years for males and 1.9 years for females. They have been known to live for up to 23 years. The adults group spawn in large numbers and the eggs which are round and transparent float off in the current. Spawning in East Africa lasts from November to May. After undergoing a pelagic stage the juveniles make their way back to the reefs. Group spawning usually takes place in areas of strong current.
Dory Snapper are exploited commercially. In Tanzania they are caught by fishermen in traps and on lines and are occasionally netted in the shallows. They are usually sold fresh and are a highly sought after fish in restaurants. They are tasty to eat. Because local fishermen are able to track their group spawning locations and times they are vulnerable to overfishing.