Mangrove red snapper
Commonly called Mangrove Jack within Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, the Mangrove red snapper (Lutjanus argentimaculatus) is an explosive and powerful sport fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 that is renowned for its superb eating and fighting qualities.

Coloration of the Mangrove Jack ranges from burnt orange, to copper, to bronze and dark reddish-brown, depending on its age and environment. Younger fish caught in estuarine areas are often darker than older fish taken from offshore reef areas, and exhibit lighter vertical bands down their flanks.

Lutjanus argentimaculatus is found in the Indo-Pacific
The Indo-Pacific is a biogeographic region of the Earth's seas, comprising the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, the western and central Pacific Ocean, and the seas connecting the two in the general area of Indonesia...

 region from Australia in the south to Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 in the north, and as far west as the eastern coast of Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. Distribution within Australia is largely centered on the northern half of Australia, spreading from northern New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 into northern Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...


As its name implies, the Mangrove Jack is commonly found in mangrove
Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

-lined estuarine systems although is known to migrate to offshore reefs in order to spawn. As ambush predators, `Jacks' often dwell around mangrove roots, fallen trees, rock walls, and any other snag areas where smaller prey reside for protection. For fishermen, the telltale sign of a hooked Mangrove Jack is the explosive run for cover once the bait (or lure) is taken. Many fish (and again, lures) are lost once they reach the protection of the snags as a result of their initial burst of speed. As they mature, Mangrove Jacks move into open waters, sometimes hundreds of kilometers from the coast in order to breed. These larger fish are sometimes caught by bottom-fishers with heavy tackle, though they still remain difficult to land due to their speed and proximity to sharp reef bottoms.

The Mangrove Jack is a highly regarded table fish with firm, sweet tasting, white flesh. While often a nuisance species when targeting the infamous Barramundi
The Barramundi , also known as Asian Seabass, is a species of catadromous fish in family Latidae of order Perciformes. The native species is widely distributed in the Indo-West Pacific region from the Persian Gulf, through Southeast Asia to Papua New Guinea and Northern Australia. Known in Thai...

, many fisherman rate the eating qualities of the Jack higher than its more famous neighbour. In reef areas, Mangrove Jack are sometimes confused with red bass (Lutjanus bohar), a known carrier of Ciguatera
Ciguatera is a foodborne illness caused by eating certain reef fishes whose flesh is contaminated with toxins originally produced by dinoflagellates such as Gambierdiscus toxicus which lives in tropical and subtropical waters. These dinoflagellates adhere to coral, algae and seaweed, where they are...

toxin. They are however easily distinguishable by the large deep pit in front of the eyes of the red bass.
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