A Friendly Fish

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Expedition Log: Maldives – Day 11

Every diver will have a selection of fish that make them smile each time they come across them. For me, one of the new additions to my list this year was the two-spot banded snapper (Lutjanus biguttatus).

two-spot banded snapper Lutjanus biguttatus
Two-spot banded snapper, Lutjanus biguttatus.

This charismatic member of the Lutjanidae family is found in reefs from 3 to 36m depth throughout the Indo-Pacific. I first came across this species during the Palau mission earlier this year. The Maldives is the most westerly location within its range, and I was pleased to find them on many of our dives.

Two-spot Banded Snapper Lutjanus biguttatus

They are easily recognizable by their darker upper body, large white horizontal band in the middle of their body and a pair of white spots on the top of their body below their dorsal fin base. They are one of the smaller and slender snapper species, reaching a maximum length of 25cm. Like other snappers, this species is a carnivore and feeds on smaller fish and crustaceans.

Two-spot Banded Snapper Lutjanus biguttatus

It was remarkable to see schools up to a thousand snapper on reefs around Anantara. I’d never seen such large schools of these snappers. We would be engulfed by these tame and beautiful fish that would move in unison when we got a little too close. I don’t know for sure what it is that draws me to this particular species, but I do know that they make me smile each time I come across them.


Photos by Andrew Bruckner


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