A larva of the Indo-West Pacific lutjanid fish Macolor macularis Fowler, the Midnight Snapper, is described from a 6.0 mm (standard length) specimen, collected in the western Pacific Ocean (2°58.1'S 158°14.3'E). Although recently settled M. macularis have been described, this is the first report of a pelagic larva. The deep-bodied larva is typical of the perciform family Lutjanidae and is characterized by 24 myomeres, laterally compressed head and body, robust, long dorsal and pelvic-fin spines with fine serrations and strong head spination. The larva of M. macularis can be distinguished from the similar larvae of Macolor niger (Forsskål) by having fin-ray counts of D X, 13 and A III, 10, the greater relative length of the second to third dorsal-fin spine and the lack of any opercular melanophores. Larvae of Macolor species are rare, juveniles are not common and adults live to 40–50 years. These facts indicate Macolor species have a life history extremely vulnerable to exploitation.