Five-lined snapper (Lutjanus quinquelineatus)

Five-lined snapper shoal
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Five-lined snapper fact file

Five-lined snapper description

GenusLutjanus (1)

A beautiful bright yellow fish of reefs in the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans, the five-lined snapper (Lutjanus quinquelineatus) is so named for the lines of vibrant blue that decorate the sides of its body (2). This attractive fish also has yellow fins, a round, dark blotch about the size of the eye below the long, spiny dorsal fin, and dark brown lines bordering the blue stripes (3) (4) (5). The five-lined snapper has a deep, slender body with a rather short, slightly forked tail and a steep forehead (2) (3) (6).

Also known as
blue-banded sea perch, blue-banded sea-perch, blue-striped snapper, five lined snapper, fiveline snapper, five-line snapper, fivelined seaperch, five-lined seaperch, fivestripe snapper, gold-striped sea-perch, tropical snapper.
Diacope decemlineata, Diacope spilura, Genyoroge grammica, Genyoroge notata sexlineatus, Genyoroge notata sublineata, Grammistes quinquevittatus, Holocentrus quinquelinearis, Holocentrus quinquelineatus, Lutianus quinquelineatus, Lutianus spilurus, Lutjanus spilurus.
Maximum length: 38 cm (2)

Five-lined snapper biology

A gregarious species when mature, with aggregations of 100 or more fish regularly encountered in suitable habitat, young five-lined snappers are largely solitary and reside in shallow, protected bays with algae and much rubble. The timing of breeding probably varies across its range, but the five-lined snapper spawns throughout the year at New Caledonia in the Southwest Pacific with a slight peak in activity between November and January. As an aggressive predator, the five-lined snapper feeds mainly on smaller fish and crustaceans (2) (3).  


Five-lined snapper range

The five-lined snapper has a widespread distribution in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, ranging from the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman through Southeast Asia to Fiji, Australia and southern Japan (2) (3) (4).


Five-lined snapper habitat

The five-lined snapper typically occurs over coral reefs or in sheltered lagoons with a rocky bottom, between depths of 2 and 40 metres (2) (3) (7).


Five-lined snapper status

The five-lined snapper has not yet been classified by the IUCN.


Five-lined snapper threats

While the threats to the five-lined snapper are not yet fully understood, it is an important commercial fish for artisanal fisheries across its range due to its economical value in food markets. It is commonly caught with handlines, traps and gill nets, but is also caught for sport in Australia (3). In the western Indian Ocean commercial fish stocks, such as that of the five-lined snapper, have been in decline since the late 1970s due to overfishing and habitat degradation from destructive activities such as dredging, suggesting the species may be threatened there. The five-lined snapper is possibly also vulnerable to accidental capture in lost fishing nets and traps (8).


Five-lined snapper conservation

The five-lined snapper has not been the target of any known conservation measures.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

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For more information on fish conservation, see:

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Simple plants that lack roots, stems and leaves but contain the green pigment chlorophyll. Most occur in marine and freshwater habitats.
Diverse group of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (mouthparts used for handling and processing food) and two pairs of maxillae (appendages used in eating, which are located behind the mandibles). Includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps and barnacles.
Dorsal fin
The unpaired fin found on the back of the body of fish, or the raised structure on the back of most cetaceans.
The production or depositing of large quantities of eggs in water.


  1. ITIS (November, 2010)
  2. FishBase – Five-line snapper (November, 2010)
  3. Allen, G.R. (1985) FAO species catalogue. Volume 6. Snappers of the world: an annotated and illustrated catalogue of lutjanid species known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis, 125(6): 1-208.
  4. Australian Museum– Five-line snapper (November, 2010)
  5. Weber, M. and de Beaufort, L.F. (1922) The Fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. IV. Heteromi, Solenichthyes, Synentognathi, Percesoces, Labyrinthici, Microcyprini. E.J. Brill, Leiden.
  6. Campbell, A. and Dawes, J. (2004) Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  7. Randall, J.E. (1994) Coastal fishes of Oman. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
  8. Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London.

Image credit

Five-lined snapper shoal  
Five-lined snapper shoal

© Jez Tryner /

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