The Ehrenberg’s Snapper (Lutjanus ehrenbergii) is also known as the Blackspot Snapper and Ehrenberg’s Seaperch. They are common inhabitants of rubble areas and reef tops in Tanzania.
Ehrenberg’s 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 translucent 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. They largest specimens we have seen have been around 22 cm. From a distance they are easy to confuse with the Dory Snapper (Lutjanus fulviflamma) but this has more pronounced yellow fins and a smaller black spot.
EHRENBERG’S SNAPPER IN THE WILD
On reefs in Tanzania the Ehrenberg’s Snapper is generally seen solitary but this may be as a result of overfishing in the areas we have dived in. Small shoals of between twenty to fifty adult fish have been seen in the shallows in turbulent areas in the Shungmbili Marine Park. The juveniles seem to prefer grassy beds and are usually seen singularly in grassy beds.
Ehrenberg’s Snapper are widely distributed across the tropical Indo-Pacific, from East Africa up to the Red Sea and across to the Solomon Islands and down to North Eastern Australia. We have seen them on reef tops and on rubble areas down to depths of approximately 22 meters.
Ehrenberg’s Snapper have a varied diet, feeding on small fishes and crustaceans. . Their diets vary with maturity and locally available prey items. Adults are said to prefer primarily a crustacean diet. They have been recorded entering freshwater estuaries to feed.
In the warmer tropical areas they spawn throughout the year and sometimes swim in circles with their mates releasing eggs and spawn into the water table. In cooler areas they spawn when the water is warmer in summer. The eggs which are round and transparent float and hatch after 18 hours.
Ehrenberg’s Snapper are heavily exploited commercially in some areas particularly in the Red Sea. In Tanzania they are caught by fishermen in traps and on lines and are occasionally netted in the shallows. They are usually sold fresh.
Ehrenberg’s Snapper are not commonly kept in aquariums because of their size and relatively unattractive colouration.
EHRENBERG‘S SNAPPER CLASSIFICATION
Species: Lutjanus ehrenbergii
Allen, G.R. 1985. FAO Species Catalogue. Snappers of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of lutjanid species known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 6. Rome : FAO 2