Species: L. campechanus
Red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) is a reef fish found
off the Atlantic coast of The Americas and in the Gulf of
The Red snapper commonly inhabits waters from 30 to 200
ft (10 to 60 m), but can be caught as deep as 300 ft (100
m) or more on occasion. They keep relatively close to the
bottom, and inhabit rocky bottom, ledges, ridges, and artificial
reefs, including offshore oil rigs and shipwrecks.
The red snapper's body is very similar in shape to other
snappers, such as the mangrove snapper, mutton snapper,
lane snapper, and dog snapper. All feature a sloped profile,
medium-to-large scales, a spiny dorsal fin, a laterally
compressed body, and a caudal tail. Red snappers have short,
sharp, needle-like teeth, however they lack the prominent
upper canine teeth found on the mutton, dog, and mangrove
This snapper has long pectoral fins and a truncate caudal
fin. The first and second dorsal fins are continuous with
a slight notch in between the two and the anal fin tapers
to a point posteriorly. The pectoral fins are long and reach
the anus when pressed against the body. They have a large
head with small red eyes and a somewhat pointed snout.
The body and fins are pinkish red in color, lightening to
a white underside. At a size less than 14 inches (35cm)
northern red snapper have a dark spot on the upper sides
below the anterior soft dorsal rays similar to a
number of other snappers. And although they may most closely
resemble the blackfin snapper (L. bucanella), the northern
red snapper lacks the distinctive black spot found on the
pectoral fins of the blackfin snapper. Juvenile red snapper
may also exhibit bluish stripes on their sides.
Coloration on a red snapper is light red, with more intense
pigment on the dorsal side. Juvenile fish can also have
a dark spot on their side which fades with age.
Like most other snappers, red snappers are gregarious and
will form large schools around wrecks and reefs. These schools
are usually made up of fish of very similar size.
Red Snapper are a prized food fish and are caught commercially,
as well as recreationally. Commercially, they are caught
on multi-hook gear with electric reels, as gill netting
has been banned in the Gulf of Mexico, where most of the
commercial harvest comes from.
Red Snapper will eat almost anything, but prefer small fish
and crustaceans. They can be caught on live bait as well
as cut bait, and will also take artificial lures, but with
less vigor. They are commonly caught up to 10 lb (5 kg)
and 20 inches (50 cm) in length, however there have been
fish taken over 40 lb (20 kg).
English language common names include northern red snapper,
sow snapper, rat snapper, mule snapper, chicken snapper,
gulf red snapper, american red snapper, caribbean red snapper,
pensacola red snapper, mexican red snapper, mutton snapper,
and bream. Other common names are acara aya (Spanish), boca
negra (Papiamento), chillo (Spanish), cora (Papiamento),
huachinango del golfo (Spanish), luciano-do-golfo (Portuguese),
pargre fine (French), pargo (Papiamento), pargo colorado
(Spanish), pargo del golfo (Spanish), pargo guachinango
(Spanish), parge real (Spanish), roodvis (Dutch), sarde
rouge (French), vermelho (Portuguese), vivaneau campeche
(French), vivanot jolle-bleu (French).
Museum of Natural History - Red Snapper
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Market - Red Snapper