Bigeye Seabream, Monotaxis grandoculis (Forsskål 1775)

Other Names: Bigeye Barenose, Bigeye Bream, Big-eye Bream, Bigeye Emperor, Big-eye Emperor, Big-eye Sea-bream, Grand-eyed Porgy Fish, Humpnose Bigeye Bream, Humpnose Big-eye Bream, Humpnose Big-eye Bream, Humpnose Sea-bream, Large-eye Bream, Large-eyed Sea Bream, Mu, Roundtooth Large-eye Bream

A Big-eye Emperor, Monotaxis grandoculis, at Puerto Galera, Philippines. Source: Paddy Ryan / License: All rights reserved

A silvery-grey seabream with narrow dark scale margins, a large black blotch behind the pectoral-fin base (axil), yellowish lips, and often four broad dark bars with white interspaces 3-4 scale rows wide. Juveniles have 3 broad dark brown to blackish bars or saddles on the body (rear two extending onto dorsal fin), a black bar through the eye and an orange to reddish band along the outer caudal-fin lobes.
Often confused with the Redfin Emperor, Monotaxis heterodon.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Monotaxis grandoculis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Jun 2024,

Bigeye Seabream, Monotaxis grandoculis (Forsskål 1775)

More Info


Ningaloo Reef, Rowley Shoals and Scott Reef, Western Australia, Ashmore Reef to north-east of Evans Shoal, Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea, to about Seal Rocks, New South Wales, with juveniles to at least Sydney; also at Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific - from East Africa and Red Sea, to Hawaii and southeastern Oceania, north to Japan and south to Australia and  New Caledonia.
Inhabits sandy and rubble areas on coastal reefs, lagoons and outer reef slopes in depths to 100 m. Large adults often form aggregations. 


Dorsal fin X, 10; Anal fin III, 9; Pectoral fin 13-14; Lateral line scales 44-47; scale rows between lateral line and anal-fin origin 13.5. 
Large adults have a rounded head with thickened lips.


Large adults are silvery-grey to bluish-grey becoming paler below, with dark scale margins, yellow to pinkish lips, a yellowish area around the eye, and a narrow pinkish to red margin on the fins. Juveniles are dark above becoming paler below with 3-4 white bars on the side and a yellow tail. with dark upper body that fades and contracts upward with age, crossed by three or four white bars that are wider than on Monotaxis heterodon (Redfin Emperor) and a yellow tail. Large adults rarely seen, usually observed as an intermediate stage with some black on back and visible white bars.


Usually feeds at night on a range of invertebrates, including gastropod molluscs, brittlestars and sea urchins - also consumes crabs, polychaete worms, tunicates, and holothurians.


Targeted in commercial and artisinal fisheries throughout its range, and also taken by recreational anglers.


Bigeye Seabream may cause ciguatera in the Marshall Islands.

Species Citation

Sciaena grandoculis Forsskål, 1775, Descriptiones animalium: 53. Type locality: Arabia.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Bigeye Seabream, Monotaxis grandoculis (Forsskål 1775)


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. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21 

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp. (in part, middle image p. 120 is M. heterodon)

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.

Carpenter, K.E. 2001. Sparidae, Lethrinidae. pp. 2990-3050 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.

Carpenter, K.E. & Allen, G.R. 1989. FAO Species Catalogue. Emperor fishes and large-eye breams of the world (family Lethrinidae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of lethrinid species known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis. No. 125, Vol. 9. Rome : FAO 118 pp.

Carpenter, K.E., Lawrence, A. & Myers, R. 2016. Monotaxis grandoculis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T16720607A16722460. Downloaded on 05 October 2018.

Forsskål, P. 1775. Descriptiones animalium Avium, Amphibiorum, Piscium, Insectorum, Vermium; quae in itinere orientali observavit Petrus Forskål. Post mortem auctoris edidit Carsten Niebuhr. Adjuncta est materia medica kahirina atque tabula maris rubri geographica. Hauniae : Mölleri 1-19, i-xxxiv, 164 pp., 43, pls.

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Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

Newman, S.J. & Williams, D. 2001. Spatial and temporal variation in assemblages of Lutjanidae, Lethrinidae and associated fish species among midcontinental shelf reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef. Marine and Freshwater Research 52: 843–851.

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.

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. (in part, right side image on p. 204 is M. heterodon)

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37351026

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:3-60 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:60 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map