Barramundi, Lates calcarifer (Bloch 1790)


Other Names: Barra, Barramunda, Cock-up, Palmer, Palmer Perch, Silver Barramundi

A Barramundi, Lates calcarifer, from the Lawley River, Kimberley, Western Australia. Source: Geoff Whalan / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives

Summary:

A long silver, greenish-grey or greyish-blue fish with a distinctly concave head profile and pointed snout, brown to dark grey fins, a pale underside and a brown to golden eye with a bright red reflective glow at night.

Barramundi not only support important recreational and wild caught commercial fisheries, the species is also farmed in northern Australia. And, this iconic species  is very important for indigenous Australians living in the north.

Video of Barramundi in the upper reaches of the Finniss River, Northern Territory.

Video of Barramundi in the Northern Territory Wildlife Park, Berry Springs, NT.


Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2017, Lates calcarifer in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Nov 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4643

Barramundi, Lates calcarifer (Bloch 1790)

More Info


Distribution

Known in Australia from the Fitzroy River, Western Australia to the Fitzroy River, Queensland. Elsewhere, widespread in coastal waters of the tropical Indo-west Pacific. 

Barramundi are catadromous, and adults usually occur in or near estuaries often around mangroves in clear or turbid water. Juveniles inhabit freshwaters in the upper reaches of rivers around undercut banks, submerged logs and overhanging vegetation.

Features

Dorsal fin VIII-IX, 10-11; Anal fin III, 7-8; Pectoral fin 15; Gill rakers (lower limb of 1st arch) 16-17; Horizontal scale rows ~19; Lateral line scales 52-61.

Body elongate, compressed, oval, with a marked concavity between pointed head and humped back; greatest body depth 3.0-3.4 in SL; head length 2.7-2.8 in SL; eye diameter 6.4-7.7 in head length; snout and jaws pointed; mouth large, jaw reaches to behind eye; teeth in jaws, vomer and palatines villiform; teeth absent from tongue; operculum ends in a flat spine above an exposed serrated bone; preopercular margin coarsely serrated below and with a spine at the angle; nostrils on each side of head close together near eye; caudal peduncle distinct; lateral line extends onto caudal fin.

Dorsal fin deeply incised before last dorsal fin spine; 3rd dorsal spine longest and strongest, half length of head; anal fin originates below 2nd third of rayed dorsal fin; posterior part of dorsal fin, anal fin, and caudal fin rounded, with scaly bases.

Scales ctenoid, firmly fixed.

Size

To 200 cm TL, commonly to 150 cm TL.

Colour

Silver, olive-grey or greyish-blue above, paler below; fins dark brown or grey; eye brown to golden with a bright red reflective glow.

Feeding

Carnivores - feed mainly on fishes (often clupeids) and crustaceans. Juveniles also consume insects.

Biology

Barramundi are fast-growing protogynous hermaphrodites, and change sex from male to female at 3-5 years of age. Small individuals are almost exclusively male, and large fish are all female. 

This catadromous species migrates from freshwater to shallow estuarine mudflats to spawn from September to March, peaking in November to December and February to March. Females are highly fecund, and large individuals may produce more than 10 million small pelagic eggs annually. The eggs measure 0.6-0.9 mm. A single female barramundi weighing 22 kg contained about 17 million eggs. 

The eggs hatch within a day, at about 1.5 mm in length, with a a large yolk sac and well developed mouth and eyes. The larvae develop rapidly - at 2.5 mm the large mouth is open, the pectoral fins begin to develop and the yolk sac is greatly reduced. They then show the typical juvenile coloration being overall brown with mottling and white stripe along the top of the head. At 3.5 mm the larvae have well-developed teeth and the fin rays are beginning to appear. After 5 days the yolk sac has been completely absorbed, and the fins are fully developed by 8.5 mm.

Juvenile barramundi grow rapidly and move into mangroves or floodplain lagoons during their first year. They grow fastest during the summer wet season when water temperatures and freshwater flows are at their peak.

Fisheries

An extremely important commercial (wild caught) and recreational angling species in northern Australia. Barramundi are highly prized by anglers for their fighting abilities. It is an excellent table fish and is grown in aquaculture industries in many parts of the world, including Australia. Juvenile Barramundi are also a popular aquarium fish.

Species Citation

Holocentrus calcarifer Bloch 1790, J. Morino 4: 100 pl. 244. Type locality: Japan.

Author

Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2017

Resources


Barramundi, Lates calcarifer (Bloch 1790)

References


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Balston, J. 2009. An analysis of the impacts of long-term climate variability on the commercial barramundi (Lates calcarifer) fishery of north-east Queensland, Australia. Fisheries Research 99: 83-89. 

Bloch, M.E. (1790).Naturgeschichte der ausländischen Fische.Part 4.  Berlin : J. Morino Vol. 4 128 pp. pls 217–252 

Chenoweth, S.F., Hughes, J.M., Keenan, C.P. & Lavery, S. 1998. Concordance between dispersal and mitochondrial gene flow: isolation by distance in a tropical teleost, Lates calcarifer (Australian barramundi). Heredity 80: 187-197.

Collins GM, Clark TD, Rummer JL, Carton AG (2013) Hypoxia tolerance is conserved across genetically distinct sub-populations of an iconic, tropical Australian teleost (Lates calcarifer). Conserv Physiol 1: doi:10.1093/conphys/cot029. PDF

Davis, T.L.O. 1982. Maturity and sexuality in Barramundi,  Lates calcarifer (Bloch), in the Northern Territory and south-eastern Gulf of Carpentaria. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 33: 529-545.

Davis, T.L.O. 1984. Estimation of fecundity in barramundi, Lates calcarifer (Bloch), using an automatic particle counter.  Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 35: 111-118.

Davis, T.L.O. 1985. Seasonal changes in gonad maturity, and abundance of larvae and early juvenile barramundi, Lates calcarifer (Bloch), in Van Diemen Gulf and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 36: 177-190.

Davis, T.L.O. (1987). Biology of wildstock Lates calcarifer in northern Autralia. In Proceedings of ACIAR International Workshop on the Management of Wild and Cultured Sea Bass–Barramundi (Lates calcarifer) (Copeland, J.W. & Grey, D.L., eds). ACIAR Proceedings 20: 22–29.

Davis, T.L.O. & Kirkwood, G.P. (1984). Age and growth studies on barramundi Lates calcarifer (Bloch), in northern Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 35: 673–689.

Doohan, M. 2005. Barramundi management in Queensland.  In: B. Grace, A. Handley and H. Bajhau (eds). Managing, monitoring, maintaining and modelling barramundi. Porceedings of the National Barramundi Workshop, 6-8 July 2005, Darwin, Northern Territory

Grey, D.L. 1985. An overview of Lates calcarifer in Australia and Asia, pp. 156-157. In: Management of wild and cultured sea bass/ Baramundi (Lates calcrifer).  ACIAR Proceedings No. 20, Proceedings of an International Workshop held at Darwin N.T. Australia, 24-30 September 1986

Griffin, R.K. (1988). A comparison of exploited and unexploited seabass Lates calcarifer populations in two rivers in the Northern Territory, Australia. Asian Fisheries Science 1: 107–115.

Jerry DR, Smith-Keune C, Hodgsone L, Pirozzi I, Carton AG, Hutson KS, Brazenor AK, Gonzalez AT, Gamble S, Collins GM, VanderWal J (2013) Vulnerability of an iconic Australian finfish (barramundi – Lates calcarifer) and aligned industries to climate change across tropical Australia. Project No. 2010/521 Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia, 222 pp. PDF

Keenan, C.P. 2000. Should we allow human-induced migration of the Indo-West Pacific fish, barramundi Lates calcarifer (Bloch) within Australia? Aquaculture Research 31: 121-131.

McDougall, A. (2004). Assessing the use of sectioned otoliths and other methods to determine the age of the centropomid fish, barramundi (Lates calcarifer) (Bloch), using known-age fish. Fisheries Research 67: 129–141.

Mihalitsis M, Bellwood DR (2017) A morphological and functional basis for maximum prey size in piscivorous fishes. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0184679. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal. pone.0184679 Open access

Milton, D.A. & Chenery, S.R. 2005. Movement patterns of barramundi Lates calcarifer, inferred from 87Sr/86Sr and Sr/Ca ratios in otoliths, indicate non-participation in spawning. Marine Ecology Progress Series 301: 279-291.

Moore, R. 1979. Natural sex inversion in the giant perch (Lates calcarifer). Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 30: 803-813.

Moore, R. 1982. Spawning and early life history of burramundi, Lates calcarifer (Bloch), in Papua New Guinea. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 33: 647-661.

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National Fisheries Authority (NFA).  2004.  Fisheries Management Act 1998 the Barramundi Fishery Management Plan.  9 p.o. 20, Proceedings of an International Workshop held at Darwin N.T. Australia, 24-30 September 1986

Larson, H.K. & Martin, K.C. (1990). Freshwater Fishes of the Northern Territory. Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences Handbook Series Number 1.  Darwin : Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences 102 pp.

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Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37310006

Behaviour:Migratory

Biology:Hermaphrodite

Depth:0-40 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Fishing:Commercial, recreational, aquaculture fish

Habitat:Freshwater, estuarine, coastal

Max Size:200 cm TL; 60 kg

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map