Red Snapper

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: Florida Fishing Spots > Topics and Descriptions >

: Red Snapper

Image: NOAA

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Lutjanidae
Genus: Lutjanus
Species: L. campechanus
Binomial name
Lutjanus campechanus

Red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) is a reef fish found off the Atlantic coast of The Americas and in the Gulf of Mexico.

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 snappers.

Distinctive Features
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).

Common Names
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).

Florida Museum of Natural History - Red Snapper

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Red Snapper".

See also:
Seafood Market - Red Snapper


red snapper length
Image: NOAA

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