* Snapper Family Photos and Information – Lutjanidae

The Snapper Family

Pacific Red Snapper, Lutjanus peru, a representative member of the Lutianidae Family.
Pacific Red Snapper, Lutjanus peru, a representative member of the Lutjanidae Family.

The fish of the Snapper or Lutjanidae Family are known in Mexico’s fishing areas as “pargos.” The snappers constitute a large family of small to medium sized, warm water fishes with moderately compressed ovate to elongated bodies that are prized as food. They have distinctive head profiles with long snouts that are below the eyes, rather small mouths opening in the front, and strong jaws armed with robust canine teeth. Snappers have a single dorsal fin that is usually notched between the spines and soft parts, and sometimes there are deep notches between the spines. Most have ten dorsal spines and eight to eighteen soft rays. The anal fins have three spines and seven to eleven soft rays. The caudal fins are straight to deeply forked. Snappers have rough, prominent scales.

Globally, 125 snapper species are known, of which nine members of the Lutjanus genus reside in the Sea of Cortez. Most of the snappers are shallow reef species, found at depths up to 300 feet, although the juveniles inhabit mangrove estuaries and will enter fresh water streams. Snappers are nighttime predators roaming the shorelines over a variety of bottom habitats and consume predominantly small fishes and limited amounts of crabs, shrimps and crustaceans. The Snappers range in size from the very small Blue and Gold Snapper to the humungous Dog Snappers. In turn they are preyed on by other snappers and sharks. They have life spans of up to 21 years.

Members of the Snapper Family represented in the fish identification section of this website include 14 snappers, 13 from the Pacific and 1 from the Atlantic:

Amarillo Snapper, Lutjanus argentiventris
Atlantic Red Snapper, Lutjanus campechanus
Barred Pargo, Hoplopagrus guentherii
Blue-and-Gold Snapper, Lutjanus viridis
Colorado Snapper, Lutjanus colorado
Golden Snapper, Lutjanus inermis
Gray Snapper, Lutjanus griseus
Lane Snapper, Lutjanus synagris
Mullet Snapper, Lutjanus aratus
Pacific Dog Snapper, Lutjanus novemfasciatus
Pacific Red Snapper, Lutjanus peru
Schoolmaster, Lutjanus apodus
Spotted Rose Snapper, Lutjanus guttatus
Vermilion Snapper, Rhomboplites aurorubens
Yellowtail Snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus