Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory



<I>Chrysophrys auratus</I>

Chrysophrys auratus


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CAAB: 37353000


Breams, Porgies, Seabreams

Compiler and date details

16 December 2014 - Dianne J. Bray, Douglass F. Hoese & John R. Paxton

31 January 2012 - Dianne J. Bray, Douglass F. Hoese & John R. Paxton

December 2006 - Dianne J. Bray, Douglass F. Hoese & John R. Paxton


In Australia, members of the Sparidae are usually referred to as bream or snappers, and many are fished commercially. In particular, Chrysophrys auratus, a snapper, is highly prized. Sparids occur in shallow coastal or offshore continental shelf waters in tropical and temperate seas worldwide. The family is characterised by the presence of molariform teeth. Species are medium sized, with the largest about 1.3 m in length.

Currently, 33 genera and at least 110 species are recognised, with much revision required at the generic level (Carpenter pers. comm.). Six genera and 11 species are known from Australia. Most of the tropical species are treated in Carpenter (2001).

The genus Chrysoblephus Swainson, 1839 has sometimes been recorded from Australia based on the tentative McCulloch (1929) record of Sparus gibbiceps (Valenciennes, 1830) (now referred to as Chrysoblephus gibbiceps). However, no specimens of this western Indian Ocean species have been found in Australian waters.

Members of the genus Pagrus were referred to Chrysophrys in Australia and New Zealand, until Chrysophrys was synonymised with Pagrus by Paulin (1990). Johnson (1980) discussed relationships of the family. Molecular work (Day 2002; Orrelll et al. 2002; Orrell & Carpenter 2004; Chiba et al. 2009) has questioned the monophyly of the subfamilies and genera within the family, including Acanthopagrus and Pagrus. Mitochondrial DNA suggested more similarity between Pagrus auratus and Evynnis from Japan and Argyrops, but not to Atlantic species of Pagrus. However many of these studies have not agreed with morphological classifications based on dentition of adults. Leis et al. (2002) provided evidence for separation of Chrysophrys and Pagrus based on larval characters and Gomon (2008) also recognised Chrysophrys for the Australian species. Dr. Yukio Iwatsuki of Miyazaki University in Japan is soon to publish information confirming that the two genera should be separate (Leis et al. 2014). Consequently we revert to the older name Chrysophrys auratus for the Australian species.

Kent Carpenter of Old Dominion University, U.S.A., who is currently revising this family, kindly provided unpublished information for this work.


Excluded Taxa


SPARIDAE: Pagus Cuvier, 1816 — Leis, J.M., Gomon, M.F. & Hoese, D.F. 2014. The scientific name for snapper. Australian Society for Fish Biology Newsletter 43(2): 7-9 (Australian species referred to Chrysophrys)


General References

Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) 2006. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp. [1225]

Carpenter, K.E. 2001. Sparidae, Lethrinidae. pp. 2990-3050 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

Chiba, S.N., Iwatsuki Y., Yoshino T. & Hanzawa, N. 2009. Comprehensive phylogeny of the family Sparidae (Perciformes: Teleostei) inferred from mitochondrial gene analyses. Genes and Genetic Systems 84(2): 153-170

Day, J.J. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships of the Sparidae (Teleostei: Percoidei) and implications for convergent trophic evolution. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society of London 76(2): 269–301

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Emmelichthyidae, Gerreidae, Sparidae, Sciaenidae, Mullidae. pp. 585-592 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Johnson, G.D. 1980. The limits and relationships of the Lutjanidae and associated families. Bulletin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography 24: 1-114 figs 1-37

Leis, J.M., Gomon, M.F. & Hoese, D.F. 2014. The scientific name for snapper. Australian Society for Fish Biology Newsletter 43(2): 7-9

Leis, J.M., Trnski, T. & Beckley, L.E. 2002. Larval development of Pagellus natalensis and what larval morphology indicates about relationships in the perciform fish family Sparidae (Teleostei). Marine and Freshwater Research 53: 367–376

McCulloch, A.R. 1929. A check-list of the fishes recorded from Australia. Part II. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 5: 145–329

Orrell, T.M., Carpenter, K.E., Musick, J.A. & Graves, J.E. 2002. Phylogenetic and biogeographic analysis of the Sparidae (Perciformes: Percoidei) from cytochrome b sequences. Copeia 2002(3): 618-631

Orrell, T.M. & Carpenter, K.E. 2004. A phylogeny of the fish family Sparidae (porgies) inferred from mitochondrial sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 32: 425-434

Paulin, C. 1990. Pagrus auratus, a new combination for the species known as "snapper" in Australasian waters (Pisces: Sparidae). New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 24: 259-265

Waite, E.R. 1921. Illustrated catalogue of the fishes of South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) 2(1): 1-208 293 figs pl. 1 [108, fig. 166]


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
18-Dec-2014 SPARIDAE 17-Dec-2014 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese
14-Dec-2012 14-Dec-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)