Lutjanus gibbus (Forsskal, 1775)
In May 2019 Jessie Abirached of Explore Kaua'i Scuba sent me this photo of a very rare snapper, one of a pair, she and her clients saw off Lehua Islet, Ni'ihau at a depth of about 70 ft.. This is one of three snapper species introduced to Hawai'i from French Polynesia in the1950s and 60s (along with the Bluestriped Snapper and the Blacktail Snapper). The latter two have become well established in the Islands, but the Humpback Snapper was thought to have died out. However, in 1989-90 several were caught by fishermen off Kaena Point, O'ahu and along the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island, and in 1992 one was seen by Linda Marsh and Ken Bail off the south shore of Kauai, so it appears that a few did survive to reproduce, after all. The photo was taken by Alexandre Rondeau and is the only underwater photo of this species taken in Hawai'i that I know of. By the way, it is also sometimes called the "Paddletail Snapper." Thanks, Jessie and Alexandre, for this very interesting sighting.
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Text and photos copyright by John P. Hoover