Animal Species:Black-and-white Snapper, Macolor niger (Forsskål, 1775)

The Black-and-white Snapper occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific. They are a prized food fish and are caught both commercially and by recreational fishermen. It is sometimes confused with the Midnight Seaperch.

Black-and-white Snapper at the Cod Hole

Black-and-white Snapper at the Cod Hole
Photographer: Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Black-and-white Snapper

Alternative Name/s

Black and White Seaperch, Black and White Snapper, Black Snapper


The Black-and-white Snapper is a moderately elongated fish with a large weakly forked caudal fin. It has many (85-108) long gill rakers that are used to sieve plankton from the water.

It is usually a plain bluish-grey above and paler below. It has dark fins. The head may have a reticulated pattern of pale bluish lines.

Size range

The species grows to 60 cm in length.

Similar Species

It looks similar to the Midnight Seaperch, Macolor macularis. The two species can be distinguished by the Midnight Seaperch's yellowish-brown head with bright blue lines and spots.


It occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific.

In Australia it is known from off north-western Western Australia and from the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Macolor niger

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Black-and-white Snapper specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Feeding and Diet

The Black-and-white Snapper sieve plankton from the water through their long gill rakers.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  3. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Black and White Snapper, Macolor niger, Black-and-white Snapper, Lutjanidae, tropical water, marine, commercial species, Black and White Seaperch, Black Snapper, elongate, forked tail, bluish-grey, pale underside, dark fins, 30 cm - 1 m, Great Barrier Reef,