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 fulvus
Lutjanus fulvus
(blacktail snapper)
Marine Fishes

Copyright Info
Lutjanus fulvus (Forster in Bloch and Schneider, 1801)

Common name: blacktail snapper

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Lutjanus fulvus has a moderately large mouth with sharp teeth. Randall (2005) describes the body as pale yellow-white; caudal (tail) fin is emarginate (indented in the center) and reddish black with a narrow white margin; dorsal (back) fin is also reddish with a narrow white margin and a broad black submarginal band. The remaining fins are yellow.

Size: Up to 40 cm total length (Allen 1985)

Native Range: Found in the IndoPacific Ocean from the Red Sea to French Polynesia, north to southern Japan, and south to South Africa and New Caledonia (Lieske and Myers 2004).

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: The blacktail snapper has been stocked in Pearl Harbor and marine waters off the island of Oahu where it has spread to all the islands (Maciolek 1984; Bishop Museum 2000). It has been collected in the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park and the Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site on the big island of Hawaii (Tilmant 1999). Although it occurs throughout the Hawaiian archipelago, it is not not abundant in any locality (Mundy 2005; Schumacher and Parrish 2005).

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 fulvus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
HI195520237Hawaii; Hawaii; Kahoolawe; Kauai; Lanai; Maui; Oahu

Table last updated 7/19/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Lutjanus fulvus inhabit lagoons and seaward reefs at depths from 1-75 m preferring sheltered areas with deep holes (Myers 1999). At times this species enters mangrove areas and lower reaches of rivers (Myers 1999). The juveniles seek shelter in brackish areas and seagrass beds (Lieske and Myers 2004). Lutjanus fulvus feeds primarily at night on crabs and shrimps in the winter and spring and favors crabs and fishes in the summer and fall (Nanami and Shimose 2013). Spawning occurs at night around the full moon throughout the year (Allen 1985, Myers 1999).

Means of Introduction: Stocked by the Hawaiian Division of Fish and Game in the 1950s (Randall 1987).

Status: Established throughout the Hawaiian archipelago; however, not abundant.

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.

Remarks: Species of Lutjanus have the potential to cause ciguatera poisoning, a foodborne illness caused by accumulation of the toxin ciguatoxin in the tissues of tropical reef fishes (Rongo et al. 2009).

References: (click for full references)


Allen, G.R. 1985. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 6. Snappers of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of lutjanid species known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(6):208 p. Rome: FAO.

Bishop Museum. 2000. Pearl Harbor Legacy Project. Available at URL http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/pdf/PHReport.pdf

Lieske, E. and Myers, R.F. 2004. Coral reef guide: Red Sea to Gulf of Aden, South Oman. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd., London.

Maciolek, J.A. 1984. Exotic Fishes in Hawaii and Other Islands of Oceania, p. 131-161, in W.R. Courtaney, Jr. and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. (eds). Distribution, Biology, and Management of Exotic Fishes. John Hopkins Press University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Mundy, B. C. 2005. Checklist of Fishes of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Bishop Museum Bulletins in Zoology, Number 6.

Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian reef fishes: A field guide for divers and aquarists. Coral Graphics, Guam.

Nanami, A. and T. Shimose. 2013. Interspecific differences in prey items in relation to morphological characteristics among four lutjanid species (Lutjanus decussatus, L. fulviflamma, L. fulvus, and L. gibbus). Environmental Biology of Fishes 96:591-602.

Randall, J.E. 1987. Introductions of marine fishes to the Hawaiian Islands. Bulletin of Marine Science 41:490-502.

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

Rongo, T., M. Bush, and R. van Woesik. 2009. Did ciguatera prompt the late Holocene Polynesian voyages of discovery? Journal of Biogeography 36:1423-1432.

Schumacher, B. D. and J. D. Parrish. 2005. Spatial relationships between an introduced snapper and native goatfishes on Hawaiian reefs. Biological Invasions 7: 925-933.

Tilmant, J.T. 1999. Management of nonindigenous aquatic fish in the U.S. National Park System. National Park Service. 50 pp.

FishBase Summary

Author: Mary Brown, Pam Fuller, and Pamela J. Schofield

Revision Date: 5/14/2024

Peer Review Date: 3/12/2006

Citation Information:
Mary Brown, Pam Fuller, and Pamela J. Schofield, 2024, Lutjanus fulvus (Forster in Bloch and Schneider, 1801): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=771, Revision Date: 5/14/2024, Peer Review Date: 3/12/2006, Access Date: 7/19/2024

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. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/19/2024].

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