Moses' Snapper, Lutjanus russellii (Bleeker 1849)

Other Names: Fingermark Bream, Moses Perch, Moses Seaperch, Moses Sea-perch, Moses Snapper, Red Bream, Russell's Sea-perch, Russell's Snapper

Moses' Snapper, Lutjanus russellii, at South Solitary Island, New South Wales. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A whitish to silvery greyish-pink tropical snapper with a brownish back, a diffuse black spot (sometimes faint) on the lateral line below the anterior part of the soft dorsal fin. Juveniles (usually <5 cm SL) are white with four (sometimes broken) brown to blackish stripes along the side, and a horizontally-elongate black spot or ocellus on the lateral line.
The scale rows along the back rise obliquely above the lateral line.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Lutjanus russellii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Jun 2024,

Moses' Snapper, Lutjanus russellii (Bleeker 1849)

More Info


Shark Bay and offshore reefs of Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, to Wollongong and possibly south to Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Indo-west Pacific.
Inhabits coastal and offshore reefs and rocky areas, occasionally entering estuaries. Juveniles prefer mangrove estuaries and may enter the lower freshwater reaches of streams.


Dorsal fin X, 14; Anal fin III, 8; Pectoral fin 16-17; Gill rakers 6-7 + 7-11; Lateral-line scales 47-50. 

Body depth 2.6-2.8 in SL; dorsal profile of head steeply to moderately sloped. Preorbital width about equal to, or slightly less than eye diameter; preopercular notch and knob poorly developed; vomerine tooth patch triangular or diamond-shaped with median posterior extension. Scale rows on back rising obliquely above lateral line.


Feeds on benthic invertebrates and fishes.


Moses' Snapper is taken by commercial and recreational fishers throughout its range, and is also extensively aquacultured.

Species Citation

Mesoprion russellii Bleeker 1849, Verhandelingen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen 22: 41. Type locality: Malay-Moluccan Archipelago.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Moses' Snapper, Lutjanus russellii (Bleeker 1849)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37346065

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:3-80 m

Fishing:Commercial/recreational fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:45 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map