Checkered Snapper, Lutjanus decussatus (Cuvier 1828)

Other Names: Checkered Seaperch

A Checkered Snapper, Lutjanus decussatus, at Komodo, Indonesia, August 2015. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A whitish to pale greyish tropical snapper with brown to reddish-brown stripes and bars forming a checkerboard pattern on the upper sides, and a large black spot on the caudal-fin base.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Lutjanus decussatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 Mar 2023,

Checkered Snapper, Lutjanus decussatus (Cuvier 1828)

More Info


Dampier Archipelago and offshore reefs of north Western Australia, Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. The species occurs elsewhere in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific: Indo-West Pacific: India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka east to Papua New Guinea, western Australia, north to Ryukyu Islands (southern Japan). 
Inhabits coastal reefs, lagoons and outer reef slopes in depths of 5-35 m, 


Dorsal fin X, 13-14; Anal fin III, 8-9; Gill rakers (first arch) 6 + 8-10 = 14-16. This species is distinguished by the following characters: bBody moderately deep, depth 2.6-3.1 in SL; preopercular notch and knob poorly developed; vomerine tooth patch crescentic, without a medial posterior extension; tongue with a patch of granular teeth.


Feeds on smaller fishes and crustaceans.


Of minor commercial importance in some parts of its range, and also collected in small numbers for the aquarium trade.


The specific name is from the Latin decussatus (= to divide crosswise, arrange crosswise, mark with a cross) in reference to the checkerboard pattern on the upper sides.

Species Citation

Mesoprion decussatus Cuvier, 1828, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 2: 487. Type locality: Java.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Checkered Snapper, Lutjanus decussatus (Cuvier 1828)


Allen, G.R. 1985. FAO Species Catalogue. Snappers of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of lutjanid species known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 6. Rome : FAO 208 pp.

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012.Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Talbot, F.H. 1985. Review of the snappers of the genus Lutjanus (Pisces: Lutjanidae) from the Indo-Pacific, with the description of a new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 11: 1-87.

Anderson, W.D. & Allen, G.R. 2001. Lutjanidae. pp. 2840-2918 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

Curtis-Quick, J. 2010. Lutjanus decussatus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T155089A115270971. Downloaded on 15 November 2019.

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1828. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 2 xxi, 2 + 490 pp., pls 9-40. See ref at BHL

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Biodiversity of shallow reef fish assemblages in Western Australia using a rapid censusing technique. Records of the Western Australian Museum 20: 247-270

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37346041

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:5-35 m

Fishing:Commercial & aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:30 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map