Lutjanus kasmira goes by many names. A popular schooling fish, I’ve had the pleasure of encountering these fish many times, including in the Maldives for Mermaid Kat’s Mermaid Week Maldives as well as in South Africa and Florida.
Lutjanus kasmira is one of the most universal species of Lutjanidae and can be found throughout the Indo-Pacific and beyond, including the Pacific Islands, Australia, Asia, Africa, and the Red Sea. Being so global, they go by a variety of common names, including bluestripe snapper, Blue-and-Yellow Snapper, Blue-banded Hussar, Blue-banded Seaperch, Blue-banded Snapper, Blue-lined Seaperch, Blue-lined Snapper, Blue-lined Snapper Fish, Blue-stripe Seaperch, Blue-striped Snapper, Blue-striped Snapper Fish, Common Bluestripe Seaperch, Common Bluestripe Snapper, Four-lined Snapper, Kasmira Snapper, Moonlighter, Yellow-and-blue Seaperch, and Yellow-and-blue Snapper.
As they age, their preferred habitat changes from sandy substrates to deep reefs. In the Red Sea, bluestripe snappers have been found as deep as 265 meters (869 ft). More commonly, they can be found to 60 meters (200 ft) on reef slopes and in shallow lagoons around coral reefs.
While bluestripe snappers are found in schools, goatfish also aggregate with them to protect against predators. Goatfish and bluestripe snappers have a mimicry relationship, meaning that goatfish mimic the snapper’s coloration. This coloration is the most diagnostic feature of the moonlighter. Their back and sides are bright yellow, fading to white further down the sides and on the underside of their heads. They have four bright blue stripes on their sides and several gray stripes lower on the sides. Their fins are mostly yellow.
Fries hatch when the water temperature reaches 22-25 C (72-77 F), and they spawn all year in most parts of the world. In the Andaman Sea, spawning season is November and December. Eggs are only 0.78-0.85 mm (0.031-0.033 inch) in diameter, and they reach maturity at about 20-25cm (7.9-9.8 inches).
Their diets depend on a variety of factors, including age, location, and prevalent prey in the area. Acceptable food sources include fish, shrimp, crabs, cephalopods, plants, and algae.
Being such a common fish, they are sold for a low price at markets throughout the globe. They’re caught by handline, traps, and gill nets.
Have you experienced the bluestripe snapper? Let me know in the comments!