Bright yellow eyes distinguish the Midnight Snapper (Macolor macularis) from related species. You find it in the Western Pacific between 3 and 50 m, from the Maldives to the Solomon Islands and Ryukyu Islands to New Caledonia.

Juveniles look very different to adults: they are black and white with blotches on their backs and stripes below. They live solitarily on protected reef slopes with feather stars, in staghorn corals or large sponges. When adult Midnight Snapper sometimes aggregate in groups and live on seaward reefs. They feed on large zooplankton at night.

Juvenile Midnight Snapper

In spite of the abundance of adults, the distinctive juveniles are not similarly common on coral reefs. One explanation is that the adults have a long life-span, but the survival of their larvae is seldom successful. In fact Macolor species live 40 to 50 years on the Great Barrier Reef, which would support this theory.1

The Midnight Snapper is also known as the Black and White Snapper, which is confusing as the similar species Macolor niger is also sometimes known by this name.

The photo is taken on Kihadoo Ridge (Baa Atoll), Maldives.

Further Reading:
Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2011. FishBase.
1The Pelagic Larva of the Midnight Snapper, Macolor macularis (Teleostei: Lutjanidae), Amanda C. Hay and Jeffrey M. Leis Records of the Australian Museum (2011) Vol. 63: 85-88.

More photos of Midnight Snapper…