Lutjanus kasmira

Lutjanus kasmira is a fish of the snappers family (Lutjanidae) that inhabits coral reefs, both in their shallow lagoons as well as in outer reefs at depths of up to 60 meters. In certain locations, such as the Marquesas Islands and in the Red Sea, there are records of sightings of this species at 250 meters depth, although these are considered to be very sporadic. The species is widely distributed throughout the waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from the Marquesas Islands, Line Islands, East Africa, and from Australia to southern Japan.

The body of Lutjanus kasmira is oval and relatively elongated, reaching sizes up to 35 cm in total length, although 25 cm in total length is most often observed. The dorsal profile of the head has a pronounced straight slope, and has a very marked notch in the preopercular region. The snout is slightly pointed and has large black eyes. The dorsal fin consists of 10 spines and 14 to 15 soft rays. The anal fin has 3 spines and 7-8 soft rays. Both the back of the dorsal fin and the anal fin are slightly pointed. The pectoral fins have 15-16 rays, and the caudal fin is emarginate in shape.

Lutjanus kasmira has a yellowish color in the upper part of the body formed by the horizontal of the upper starting of the pectoral fin and the lower part of the caudal peduncle. Below this horizontal the color is whitish. On the flanks it has 4 whitish-bluish colored lines. The first and second line, starting counting from the upper one, are born next to the posterior height of the eye. The third line arises from the upper part of the aperture of the operculum. The birth of the fourth line is very subtle, being its origin in the upper jaw. All four lines run horizontally backwards, to the upper margin of the dorsum in the case of the first three, and the fourth to the caudal peduncle, but without entering it. The dorsal, anal and caudal fins are completely yellowish, and the pectoral fins are whitish. The feature that distinguishes Lutjanus kasmira from one of its closest relatives of the same family and very similar coloration pattern, Lutjanus bengalensis, is to be found on the back of the specimen. Lutjanus kasmira has several faint grayish stripes on the lower part of the body, while in the case of Lutjanus bengalensis the belly is completely whitish, without any stripes.

It is very common that specimens of Lutjanus kasmira form large schools of individuals, usually during the day, when they are located near coral reef overhangs or in caves.

The diet of Lutjanus kasmira is varied, consisting mostly of small fish, shrimp, crabs, cephalopods and planktonic crustaceans.

Reproduction of the species occurs throughout most of the year, with peaks of reproductive activity between November and December. Clutch eggs are small in size (~0.8 mm in diameter) and hatch within 18 hours of having been laid and fertilized.


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