Sailfin snapperSJS

Symphorichthys spilurus
32.4 cm FL

Characteristic features:

  • Dorsal fins with 10 spines and 17–19 soft rays
  • Body deep
  • Head blunt
  • Adults and juveniles with one or more anterior dorsal-fin soft rays forming long filaments


Adults yellowish with series of bright-blue stripes on sides and head, black spot on upper caudal peduncle, orange bars on nape and between eyes. Juveniles light brown above, whitish below with broad midlateral stripe passing through eye to caudal peduncle.


Up to 60 cm TL.


West Pacific in tropical and subtropical waters.


Over sandy bottoms near coral reefs, from 5 to at least 60 m depth.


Feeds on fishes and sand dwelling crustaceans and molluscs. Usually solitary, but aggregate and form large schools for spawning purposes. Sailfin snapper have been observed in Palau to have two spawning seasons; spring and autumn.1 Spawning occurs at specific sites along seaward reef slopes on a full moon, and when currents are directed offshore.2 Maturity and maximum age of Sailfin snapper is unknown.


Caught mainly with handlines and bottom trawls.

Similar species:

Symphorichthys nematophorus
Symphorus nematophorus
Symphorichthys nematophorus differs in having a moderately deep body (vs. very deep); head gently sloping (vs. blunt); dorsal-fin soft rays forming long filaments in juveniles only (vs. juveniles and adults) and no black spot on caudal peduncle (vs. black spot present).

External links:

The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM


  1. 1.
    Sakaue J, Akino H, Endo M, Ida H, Asahida T. Temporal and Spatial Site Sharing during Spawning in Snappers Symphorichthys spilurus and Lutjanus bohar (Pisces: Perciformes: Lutjanidae) in Waters around Peleliu Island, Palau. Zoological Studies [Internet]. 2016;55(2016). Available from:
  2. 2.
    Sakaue J, Akino H, Ida H. The blue-lined sea bream—Symphorichthys spilurus. Reef fish spawning aggregations: Biology, research and management; 2011.