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Humphead Snapper (Lutjanus sanguineus, Bordomar)

The shape of this robust fish varies considerably with its size, and adults develop a distinctive and protruding forehead. The general body colour is bright red with silvery reflections. Juveniles are slightly different from the adults as they have longitudinal stripes along the body, and a dark ban running from each eye to the dorsal fin. The fins are reddish and occasionally edged in black. Each jaw bears a row of conical teeth, two pairs of which are enlarged, as well as several rows of villiform teeth. There is also a “V” shaped patch of fine teeth on the roof of the mouth.

The adult can attain up to 90 cm in size.  This snapper is a reef fish which can be found in depths of up to 100 m. It does, however, display a distinct preference for slightly silty, turbid regions in the vicinity of sometimes quite shallow, offshore banks. Here it may replace Lutjanus sebae (Red snapper) as the dominant snapper. It is mainly a nocturnal feeder and preys largely on a variety of reef-dwelling fish as well and invertebrate such as prawns, crabs, mantis shrimps, squid and zooplankton. Sexual maturity is attained after about six years at a corresponding length of 50-55 cm. Spawning occurs in the tropical waters off East Africa during June and July. Neither spawning adults nor very young fish have been recorded in southern African waters. This snapper is quite unmistakable as it is the only species with overall red colours and a bulbous forehead.