With a deep, flattened, streamlined body, the orange spotted trevally (Carangoides bajad) is a powerful, fast-swimming predatory fish of the jack family (Carangidae) (2)(3). This carnivorous fish is also recognised by its deeply-forked tail fin, low dorsal fin with elongated rays, and naked patch on the middle of the belly (2)(3). This beautiful fish is typically silvery-grey in colour with a scattering of conspicuous, bright orange-yellow spots along the sides (2)(4)(5). It does, however, display the remarkable ability to change its colour to become almost entirely orange, although the spotting still shows through (4).
A strong, fast-swimming, pursuit predator, the orange spotted trevally is a dominant carnivore in its reef habitat, yet very little is known about its biology (6). It spawns in deep water, most probably in summer months (7), when large numbers of small, buoyant eggs and sperm are released for external fertilisation(3). Hatching occurs around 24 to 48 hours after spawning, with the developing fish likely remaining in the water column as part of the zooplankton community for an extended period of time (3). As the young, solitary fish develop they eventually move inshore and start exhibiting more gregarious behaviours (6).
The orange spotted trevally is found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, ranging from Madagascar, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, across the northern Indian Ocean to Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Japan (2)(4).
The orange spotted trevally is commonly found around reef slopes and stands of corals in lagoons, between depths of 2 and 50 metres. It also occurs in muddy bays, whilst juveniles are typically found in sheltered coastal bays (2).
While the extent of the threats to the orange spotted trevally is currently unclear, the species is a highly-regarded food fish and is captured in artisanal and sport fisheries across its range (3)(4)(7). In the western Indian Ocean, commercial fish stocks are thought to have been in decline since the late 1970s, due to overfishing and habitat degradation from destructive activities such as dredging (8). However, exploitation does not appear to be threatening the species at present (7).
Allen, G.R. and Robertson, D.R. (1994) Fishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Carpenter, K.E. and Niem, V.H. (1999) FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 4: Bony Fishes, Part 2 (Mugilidae to Carangidae). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.
Vine, P. (1996) Natural Emirates: Wildlife and Environment of the United Arab Emirates. Trident Press, London.
Honebrink, R.R. (2000) A Review of the Biology of the Family Carangidae, with Emphasis on Species Found in Hawaiian Waters. Division of Aquatic Resources Techinal Report 20-01. Department of Land and Natural Resources, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Grandcourt, E.M., Al Abdessalaam, T.Z., Francis, F. and Al Shamsi, A. (2004) Population biology and assessment of representatives of the family Carangidae Carangoides bajad and Gnathanodon speciiosus (Forsskål, 1775), in the Southern Arabian Gulf. Fisheries Research, 69: 331-341.
Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London.
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