Glasseye Snapper – Heteropriacanthus cruentatus

The Glasseye Snapper or simply Glasseye is a species in the order of the Perciformes  thus belongs to the superclass of the bony fish. Supposedly he is able to make sounds of himself. Heteropriacanthus cruentatus is the only species in the genus Heteropriacanthus.

Glasseye Snapper Heteropriacanthus cruentatus Martin Osteichthyes bony fish diving canary islands species atlantic ocean
Glasseye Snapper – Heteropriacanthus cruentatus
Copyright: Martin Majewski


The Glasseye Snapper has an intense red colour with white pattern. His fins are also red with white stripes and the end of the tail fin is slightly darker.
Its huge black eyes are striking. The mouth reaches straight to his eye, and the lower jaw passes over the upper jaw.
The body is very high and laterally compressed.
Glasseyes can reach a maximum size of 50cm, but are usually not larger than 20cm.

Habitat and Distribution

Heteropriacanthus cruentatus lives near rocky reefs, down to a depth of 300m.

When diving in the Canaries you can see it very often. In addition, its distribution area extends over tropical and subtropical waters. In the western Atlantic you can find them in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean islands, along the coast of South America all the way to Argentina. They also inhabit the eastern Atlantic from Madeira to Saint Helena. On the African continent, however, they are only known on the south and east coasts. They are also found partly on islands in the central and eastern Pacific.

In general one can say that Heteropriacanthus cruentatus occurs rather around islands than on the coasts of the continents.


The Glasseye Snapper is a night-time hunter and feeds mainly on cephalopods, crustaceans, small fish, fish breed and zooplankton. While they are solitary during the day, hidden in under overhangs, in columns and caves one can see them at night in small groups, in open water. It does not like the light of torches and swims off quiet fast when encountering one.

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