Spotted Rose Snapper

Spotted Rose Snapper, Lutjanus guttatus

The Spotted Rose Snapper, Lutjanus guttatus, whose common Spanish and is pargo flamenco, 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 Spotted Rose Snappers have moderately deep oval bodies with a pale crimson or pinkish coloration and a silvery sheen. Their body has golden-green to brownish narrow oblique broken stripes and a distinctive spot below the middle of their dorsal fin. Their fins are reddish-pink. Juveniles have yellow stripes ventrally and yellow anal and pelvic fins. The distinctive spot is more prominent in juveniles than in adults. Their mouth and eyes are modest-sized. Their anal fin is pointed and has 3 spines and 8 rays; their caudal fin has a concave edge; and their dorsal fin is continuous with a pointed end and 10 spines. Their body is covered with large scales with the rows on their upper back running obliquely to the lateral line.

The Spotted Rose Snappers are found over sandy bottoms adjacent to rocky reefs at depths up to 400 feet. Juveniles are known to enter bays and estuaries. They reach a maximum length of 80 cm (32 inches). They feed on crabs, mollusks, octopus, shrimp, and small fish. They are normally found in fairly large schools. They are a very rare species and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Spotted Rose Snappers are found from Magdalena Bay southward along the southwest coast of Baja, throughout the Sea of Cortez, and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala. There are unconfirmed reports of their presence along the northwest coast of Baja.

The Spotted Rose Snapper can be confused with the Colorado Snapper, Lutjanus colorado, the Pacific Red Snapper, Lutjanus peru, and the Whipper Snapper, Lutjanus jordani, however, all three lack the distinctive black spot below the middle portion of the dorsal fin.

The Spotted Rose Snappers are quality food but not common and therefore not a significant food fish. They are sold on a limited basis by the major markets in the greater Los Cabos area with fish most likely obtained via netting from unknown locations.

Spotted Rose Snapper, Lutjanus guttatus, Juvenile. Fish caught from coastal waters off the Puerto Los Cabos breakwater, Baja California Sur, December 2007. Length: 12 cm (4.7 inches).

Spotted Rose Snapper, Lutjanus guttatus. Fish caught from coastal waters off Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, November 2003. Length: 40 cm (16 inches).

Spotted Rose Snapper, Lutjanus guttatus. Fish caught in coastal waters adjacent to Roca Consag, San Felipe, Baja California, May 2015. Length: 49 cm (19.3 inches). Weight: 1.5 kg (3 pounds 1 oz). This fish has been submitted to IFGA as a potential new world record eclipsing the old record of 2 pounds 14 oz. Catch, photo and identification courtesy of Chris Wheaton, Loreto, Baja California Sur.

Spotted Rose Snapper, Lutjanus guttatus. Fish caught from coastal waters off Conception Bay, Baja California Sur, February 2008. Length: 28 cm (15 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of Barry Mastro, Escondido, CA.