Golden Snapper, Lutjanus johnii (Bloch 1792)

Other Names: Big-scaled Bream, Fingermark Bream, Fingermark Seaperch, John's Sea-perch, John's Snapper, Red Bream, Spotted-scale Sea Perch, Spotted-scale Sea-perch

A Golden Snapper, Lutjanus johnii, at Mornington Island, Queensland. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution

A yellowish tropical snapper with a bronze to silvery sheen, becoming silvery white below, with a large black blotch mainly above the lateral line below the anterior dorsal-fin rays, and a reddish-brown spot on each scale forming fine horizontal lines along the side.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Lutjanus johnii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Jul 2024,

Golden Snapper, Lutjanus johnii (Bloch 1792)

More Info


Northern Australia, from the Prince Regent River, the Kimberley, Western Australia, to about Mackay, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific.
Inhabits inshore coastal and estuarine reefs, often in silty areas; juveniles occur among mangroves. Large adults reportedly form schools in turbid waters around reefs in muddy coastal areas and occasionally on offshore sandy trawl grounds.


Dorsal fin X,13-14; Anal fin III,8. 
Dorsal head profile steep; preorbital width equal to or greater than eye diameter; preopercular notch and knob poorly developed. Scale rows on back parallel to lateral line.


Feeds on fishes and benthic invertebrates including shrimps, crabs and cephalopods.


Taken in commercial and recreational fisheries.

Species Citation

Anthias johnii Bloch 1792, Naturgeschichte der ausländischen Fische 6: 113. Type locality: Suratta, India.


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Golden Snapper, Lutjanus johnii (Bloch 1792)


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. & 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. 

Bloch, M.E. 1792. Naturgeschichte der ausländischen Fische. Berlin : J. Morino Vol. 6 126 pp. pls 289-323. 

Cappo, M., Marriott, R.J & Newman, S.J. 2013. James’s rule and causes and consequences of a latitudinal cline in the demography of John’s Snapper (Lutjanus johnii) in coastal waters of Australia. Fishery Bulletin 111(4):309-324.

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.

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp. 

Johnson, J.W. & Gill, A.C. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of Sweers Island, Gulf of Carpentaria. Gulf of Carpentaria Scientific Study Report. Geography Monograph Series. Brisbane: Royal Geographic Society of Queensland. pp. 239-260 

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

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp.
Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Russell, B., Smith-Vaniz, W.F., Lawrence, A. & Carpenter, K.E. 2016. Lutjanus johnii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T172495A1343500. Accessed on 18 December 2023.

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. 

Taillebois, L., Davenport, D., Barton, D.,  Crook, D., et al. 2021. Integrated analyses of SNP-genotype and environmental data in a continuously distributed snapper species (Lutjanus johnii, Bloch, 1792) reveals a mosaic of populations and a challenge for sustainable management. ICES Journal of Marine Science 78: 3212–3229.

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37346030

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-80 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish

Habitat:Reef associated, inshore

Max Size:97 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map