Lane Snapper, Lutjanus synagris
The Lane Snapper, Lutjanus synagris, whose common Spanish name and local name is biajaiba, is a species in the Snapper or Lutjanidae Family, known collectively as pargos in Mexico. Globally, there are sixty-seven species in the genus Lutjanus, nineteen of which are found in Mexican waters, ten in the Atlantic and nine in the Pacific.
The Lane Snappers have oblong compressed moderately deep bodies that vary in color from whitish silver-pink to reddish. They have green-tinged vertical bars and a series of seven to ten yellow horizontal stripes along their sides with yellow diagonal lines above their lateral line. They have a diffuse black spot, larger than their eyes, above their lateral line and below their soft dorsal fin. They have a pointed snout. Their anal fin is rounded and has 3 spines the second being robust and of equal length to the third; their caudal fin has a concave margin; their dorsal fin is continuous with 10 thin spines the fourth being the longest; and their pectoral fins are short. All their fins are reddish-pink and their anal fin has yellow tinges.
The Lane Snappers are found over reefs and vegetated sandy bottoms at depths between 100 and 400 feet. They reach a maximum length of 60 cm (24 inches) and 3.5 kg (8 pounds) in weight. They are nocturnal predators consuming fish and crustaceans; in turn they are preyed upon by sharks and other large predatory fish including other snappers.
In Mexico waters the Lane Snapper are found in all waters of the Atlantic.
The Lane Snapper can be confused with the Mutton Snapper, Lutjanus analis (pointed anal fin).
The Lane Snappers are caught in abundance along the tropical Mexican coastline by trolling or casting small jigs. They are a popular sports fish for recreational anglers and a high quality food fish. They are sold commercially in the major supermarkets of Mexico.
Lane Snapper, Lutjanus synagris. Fish caught from coastal waters off Key West, Florida, April 2017. Length: 32 cm (13 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of Dean Kimberly, Atlanta, GA.