Snapper Family, (Lutjanidea): The snappers are members of the Lutjanidea Family of fishes, which are generally known in Mexico as "pargos." The snappers constitute a large family of small to medium sized, warm water fishes with moderately compressed bodies that are prized as food. Snappers all have a single dorsal fin that is usually notched between the spines and soft parts, and sometimes there are deep notches between the spines. They normally have 10 dorsal spines and 8 to 18 soft rays. The anal fins have three spines and 7 to 11 soft rays. The tail or caudal fins are straight to slightly concave. Snappers have rough, prominent scales.
Globally, 125 snapper species are known, of which nine members of the Lutjanidae genus reside in the Sea of Cortez. Most of the snappers are shallow reef species, found in the first 200 feet of the water column, although the juveniles inhabit mangrove estuaries. Their food habits vary as they roam the shore lines over a variety of bottom types dining predominantly on small fishes.
Most snappers can be recognized by their distinctive head profiles. They have moderately long snouts that are well below the eyes, rather small mouths, and strong jaws that are armed with robust canine teeth.
The nine species of snappers from the genus Lutjanus found in Mexican fishing waters include the Blue and Gold Snapper, the Colorado Snapper, the Dog Snapper, the Golden Snapper, Jordan’s Snapper, the Mullet Snapper, the Red Snapper, the Spotted Rose Snapper, and the Yellow Snapper. The Mexican Barred Pargo is also considered to be a snapper but is from the genus Hoplopargrus. (In Mexico fishing areas, Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Institute, Panama, cites nine Lutjanus species.)
NOTE: Mexfish.com is currently seeking pictures of the Jordan’s Snapper caught in Mexican waters, and it would be greatly appreciated if anyone would share their pictures with us.
Members of the Snapper Family represented in the fish identification section of this website include:
Barred Pargo, Mexican Barred Pargo, or Mexican Barred Snapper, Hoplopagrus guentheri.
Blue and Gold Snapper, Lutjanus viridis.
Colorado Snapper, Lutjanus colorado.
Dog Snapper, Pacific Dog Snapper or Pacific Cubera Snapper, Lutjanus novemfasciatus.
Golden Snapper, Lutjanus inermis.
Lane Snapper, Lutjanus synagris.
Mullet Snapper, Lutjanus aratus.
Red Snapper or Pacific Red Snapper, Lutjanus peru.
Spotted Rose Snapper, Lutjanus guttatus.
Vermilion Snapper, Rhomboplites aurorubens.
Yellow Snapper, Lutjanus argentiventris.
Yellowtail Snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus.