Snapper Family Photos and Information – Lutjanidae

The Snapper Family – Lutjanidae

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

The fish of the Snapper or Lutjanidae family are known in Mexico’s fishing areas as pargos. They constitute a large family of small to medium-sized warm water fish with moderately compressed oval to elongated bodies and 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; they also sometimes have deep notches between the spines. Most have 10 dorsal spines and 8 to 18 soft rays. Their anal fins have 3 spines and 7 to 11 soft rays. Their caudal fins are straight to deeply forked. They have rough, prominent scales.

Globally, one hundred twenty-five snapper species are known, of which nine members of the Lutjanus genus reside in the Sea of Cortez. Most snappers are shallow reef species and found at depths up to 300 feet, although juveniles inhabit mangrove estuaries and will enter fresh water streams. They are nighttime predators roaming the shorelines over a variety of bottom habitats and consume predominantly small fish and limited amounts of crab, shrimp, and crustaceans. They range in size from the very small Blue-and-Gold Snappers to the humongous Dog Snappers. They are preyed on by sharks and other snappers. They have a lifespan of up to twenty-one years.

Members of the Snapper family represented in the fish identification section of this website include seventeen snappers, nine from the Pacific and eight from the Atlantic:

Atlantic Red Snapper, Lutjanus campechanus
Barred Pargo, Hoplopagrus guentherii
Black Snapper, Apsilus dentatus
Blue-and-Gold Snapper, Lutjanus viridis
Colorado Snapper, Lutjanus colorado
Golden Snapper, Lutjanus inermis
Gray Snapper, Lutjanus griseus
Lane Snapper, Lutjanus synagris
Mahogany Snapper, Lutjanus mahogany
Mullet Snapper, Lutjanus aratus
Pacific Dog Snapper, Lutjanus novemfasciatus
Pacific Red Snapper, Lutjanus peru
Schoolmaster, Lutjanus apodus
Silk Snapper, Lutjanus vivanus
Spotted Rose Snapper, Lutjanus guttatus
Vermilion Snapper, Rhomboplites aurorubens
Yellow Snapper, Lutjanus argentiventris
Yellowtail Snapper, Oxyurus chrysurus