The snappers of the family Lutjanidae are important marine food fishes of high commercial value occurring in the tropical Indo-Pacific region. They are also of great demand in aquarium trade for many of them have attractive body colour patterns.
A nominal 374 species are known, out of which 110 species are recognized as valid, belonging to 17 genera throughout the world. But the Indian snappers are represented by 10 genera consisting of 46 species as per specimens examined during this study and published records. Almost all the Indian snappers are found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Gulf of Mannar wherever there are coral reefs. Many species are also found along both the east and west coast of India. The Lutjanidae are a taxonomically difficult group of fishes. Several species are externally similar and their species level identification generally based on live colour pattern. Moreover, colour patterns of snappers are not retained upon preservation, and in several species it fades almost completely. Hence, identification of preserved specimens is often a difficult task which frequently leads to misidentification.
The purpose of the present work is to provide a comprehensive overview of the snappers of India with their distributional range in Indian waters, and shoud be of interest to fish taxonomists, researchers, fishery workers and hobbyists. The results are based on physical examination of almost all the Indian species of snappers, though some species could not be examined due to a paucity of material. A brief description with illustrations, synonymies, geographical distribution, along with keys to the genera and species are included in this work.
2. Study of the snappers in India
3. Materials and methods
4. Abbreviation used in this work
5. List of the snappers occurring in India
6. Family Lutjanidae
7. Key to the genera
I. Genus Aphareus Cuvier
II. Genus Aprion Valenciennes
III. Genus Etelis Cuvier
IV. Genus Lipocheilus Anderson, Talwar & Johnson
V. Genus Lutjanus Bloch
VI. Genus Macolor Bleeker, 1860
VII. Genus Paracaesio Bleeker, 1875
VIII. Genus Pinjalo Bleeker, 1845
IX. Genus Pristipomoides Bleeker, 1852
X. Genus Symphorus Gunther, 1872
8. Geographical distribution of the snappers in India (Table No. 1)
9. Diversity of snappers in India (Table no. 2)