Ruby Snapper, Etelis carbunculus Cuvier 1828

Other Names: Long-tailed Snapper

Ruby Snapper, Etelis carbunculus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A large reddish to pinkish tropical snapper, with a whitish belly, red margins on the dorsal fins, and a red margin on the caudal fin with a white tip on the lower lobe. The scale rows along the back run parallel to the lateral line.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Etelis carbunculus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jun 2024,

Ruby Snapper, Etelis carbunculus Cuvier 1828

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Widespread and abundant in the Indo-west-central Pacific, from Africa, the Persian Gulf and Red Sea to  throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans, to Japan, Australia, northern New Zealand, and eastwards to French Polynesia and Hawaii. 
Known in Australian waters from off Geraldton, WA, to the Arafura Sea NE of Darwin, NT, and the outer Great Barrier Reef, QLD between the Ribbon Reef and Myrmidon Reef , and possibly further south. Also at Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, and at the Australian territories of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands in the Indian Ocean.


Carnivore - feeds mostly on fishes, squids, shrimps and crabs.


Fished throughout much of its range and reportedly undergoing population declines in some areas. Taken mostly with bottom longlines and deep handlines, and is an important food fish in some areas.
Commercially fished in the Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery in south-western Australia. 


IUCN Red List: Data DeficientEPBC Act: Not Listed

Species Citation

Etelis carbunculus Cuvier, 1828, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 2: 127, pl. 18. Type locality: Mahé, Seychelles.


Dianne J. Bray

Ruby Snapper, Etelis carbunculus 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. & 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. and Talbot, J.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: 87.

Anderson, W.D., Jr. 1987. Systematics of the fishes of the family Lutjanidae (Perciformes: Percoidei), the snappers. pp. 1-31 in Polovina, J.J. & Ralston, S. (eds). Tropical Snappers and Groupers: Biology and Fisheries Management. Boulder : Westview Press Inc. 659 pp.

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.

Carlot, A.H. 1990. Growth and mortality of snapper Etelis carbunculus in Vanuatu. Fishbyte 8(3): 6-7.

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.

Demartini, E. E. and Lau, B.B. 1999. Morphometric criteria for estimating sexual maturity in two snappers, Etelis carbunculus and Pristipomoides sieboldii. Fishery Bulletin 9(3): 449-458.

Francis, M.P., Worthington, C.J., Saul, P., & K.D. Clements. 1999. New and rare tropical and subtropical fishes from northern New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 33: 571-586.

Fry, G. & Newman, S. 2010. Etelis carbunculus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. . Downloaded on 05 May 2013.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. and Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled fishes of southern Indonesia and northwestern Australia. Australian Development Assistance Bureau, Canberra, Australia.

Hunter, C. 2008. Stock assessment of ruby snapper (Etelis carbunculus). CSIRO.

Kramer, S.H., Kramer, S.M. & Newman, S.J. 1994. New deep-water fish records from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Pacific Science 48(1): 70-79.

Leis, J.M. & Lee, K. 1994. Larval deveopment in the lutjanid subfamily Etelinae (Pisces): the genera Aphareus, Aprion, Etelis and Pristipomoides. Bulletin of Marine Science 55(1): 46-125.

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.

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.
Smith, M.K. & Kostlan, E. 1991. Estimates of age and growth of ehu Etelis carbunculus in four regions of the Pacific from density of daily increments in otoliths. Fisheries Bulletin 89: 461-472.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37346014

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:130 cm

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CAAB distribution map