The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Lutjanus sebae
Lutjanus sebae
(emperor snapper)
Marine Fishes
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Lutjanus sebae (Cuvier, 1816)

Common name: emperor snapper

Synonyms and Other Names: red emperor, red emperor snapper

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Dorsal fin XI (15-16); anal fin III (10).  Dorsal profile of head steeply sloped.

Size: to 116 cm fork length, 32.7 kg (Froese and Pauly 2006).

Native Range: Indo-West Pacific from South Africa and the Red Sea to Indonesia, southeastern Australia, the Philippines and southern Japan (Mundy 2005).

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: A single large juvenile was captured with a crab trap at 45 m outside Waimea Bay, O'ahu, Hawaii in March 2002 (Mundy 2005).  A dead individual was recovered from the Cedar River, near Vinton, Iowa.

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Lutjanus sebae are found here.

StateYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
Iowa200320031Middle Cedar

Table last updated 9/30/2019

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Although it is possible the Hawaiian specimen was a waif from Japan, it is more likely that it was an aquarium release.  The Iowa specimen is surely an aquarium release.

Status: Collected in Hawaii and Iowa.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

References: (click for full references)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly.  Eds.  2006.  Fishbase.  http://www.fishbase.com

Mundy, B. C.  2005.  Checklist of the Fishes of the Hawaiian Archipelago.  Bishop Museum Bulletins in Zoology, No. 6.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Schofield, P.J.

Revision Date: 2/19/2020

Peer Review Date: 3/3/2006

Citation Information:
Schofield, P.J., 2020, Lutjanus sebae (Cuvier, 1816): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2589, Revision Date: 2/19/2020, Peer Review Date: 3/3/2006, Access Date: 2/26/2020

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2020]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [2/26/2020].

Contact us if you are using data from this site for a publication to make sure the data are being used appropriately and for potential co-authorship if warranted. For queries involving fish, please contact Matthew Neilson. For queries involving invertebrates, contact Amy Benson.