Aquaculture Feed and Fertilizer Resources Information System

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Barramundi - Lates calcarifer

(Bloch, 1790) [Centropomidae]

FAO official common names: Fr - Perche barramundi; Es - Perca gigante

Taxonomic and biological features:

Distinguishing characters
Body elongated, compressed. Mouth large, slightly oblique, upper jaw extending behind the eye (Figure 1). Dorsal fin with 7 to 9 spines and 10 to 11 soft rays. Pectoral fin short and rounded. Dorsal and anal fins both have scaly sheath. Anal fin round, with three spines and 7–8 soft rays. Caudal fin rounded. Scales large and ctenoid. Teeth villiform, no canine teeth present. Lower edge of preoperculum with strong spine; operculum with a small spine and with a serrated flap above origin of lateral line (Kungvankij et al., 1985).

Barramundi is a protandrous hermaphrodite. Males mature at about four years of age and change sex at about seven years (85–100 cm TL (Total Length)), becoming functional females (Moore, 1979). Some primary females may be present (Moore, 1980). L. calcarifer is a catadromous fish, inhabiting rivers before returning to estuaries to spawn. Spawning occurs in brackish water and larvae (1.5 mm) passively drift into coastal swamps.

Juveniles migrate upstream and sub-adult fish remain in freshwater until they reach sexual maturity. Maturing males migrate downstream during the spawning season (Russel and Rimmer, 2004) (see Figure 2).