Yellow Snapper

Yellow Snapper, Lutjanus argentiventris

The Yellow Snapper, Lutjanus argentiventris, whose common Spanish and local name is pargo amarillo, is a species in the Snapper or Lutjanidae Family, known collectively as pargos in Mexico. This fish is also known as the Amarillo Snapper. 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 Yellow Snappers have moderately oblong bodies with an overall yellow coloration that is more prominent in the tail and lower part of the body. Larger adults are two-toned, rosy-red in the front and yellow in the back. Their fins are yellow or orange. They have a distinctive blue horizontal streak below their eyes, that provides a facile identification, that fades quickly after collection. They have a pointed snout and a large mouth. Their anal fin is rounded with 3 spines, the second being thick, and 8 rays; their caudal fin is straight; and their dorsal fin is continuous and rounded at the terminal end with 10 spines.

The Yellow Snappers are found over rocky bottoms close to caves and crevices at depths up to 310 feet. They reach a maximum length of 76 cm (30 inches). They are nocturnal predators feeding on crabs, mollusks, octopus, shrimp, and small fish and take shelter during daylight. Juveniles will enter fresh water streams.

In Mexican waters the Yellow Snapper are found in all waters of the Pacific.

The Yellow Snapper is an easy fish to identify due to its coloration and the broken blue line under the eyes and cannot be confused with any other species.

The Yellow Snappers are considered an excellent food fish. They are not caught in abundance by hook and line as they virtually disappear shortly after the first morning light. They occasionally become accessible in the early morning when chummed up to near the surface with cut bait. They are also accessible from the beach but only during predawn hours with live sardines being the bait of choice. They are sold in many markets of the greater Los Cabos area with fish presumably caught via nets and brought in from unknown locations.

Yellow Snapper, Lutjanus argentiventris. Fish caught from coastal waters off Cabo Real, Baja California Sur, April 2012. Length: 45 cm (18 inches).

Yellow Snapper, Lutjanus argentiventris. Fish caught from coastal waters off Loreto, Baja California Sur, August 2014. Photo courtesy of Chris Wheaton, Loreto.

f072-yellow-snapper-4Yellow Snapper, Lutjanus argentiventris. Fish caught from coastal waters off Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, October 2016. Length: 20 cm (8.0 inches). A most unusual dark colored fish, found in abundance within Mag Bay and known locally as Pargo Rojo (i.e. Red Snappers).