The Gray Snapper

The Gray Snapper


all year

Minimum size

31 cm

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The Gray Snapper belongs to the Lutjanidae family. The gray snapper is one of the smallest snappers. It rarely exceeds 45 cm and almost always weighs less than 4 kg. The maximum size is 60 cm for 27 kg. It has a lifespan of 27 years. It breeds from April to November. It can be fished all year round.
The gray snapper has a relatively slim body, a large mouth and a pointed snout. The anal fin is rounded and the pectoral fins short, without reaching the anal fin. Although the background color of this species may vary, particularly in juveniles, the body and fins of the gray snapper are generally grey to green with a reddish tinge. On the sides of the fish, there are rows of small reddish to orange spots. The median fins are darker than the even fins, often bordered with yellow or white, and the pectoral fins are colorless. The rear edge of the anal fin is rounded. There is no black spot on the side of the body. Young gray snappers have a clearly visible dark band from the snout through the eye and a less visible blue band on the cheek under the eye. They may also sometimes show a lateral pattern of thin pale bars on the body. The fins of juveniles are reddish orange with dark edges.

The Gray Snapper lifestyle

This snapper is an opportunistic predator. Larvae feed on zooplankton, including copepods and amphipods. Juvenile gray snappers feed by day among sea grass beds, mainly crustaceans and fish and polychaete worms and mollusks. Adult snappers, which feed at night, attack small fish, crabs, shrimp, gastropods and cephalopods.
Individual snappers can breed several times during the breeding season. The snapper spawns in aggregations during the periods around the full moon. The species is a mass spawner of demersal eggs from which low-pigmented larvae hatch about 20 hours after fertilization. The yolk sac is absorbed within the first 45 hours, after which the larvae must actively feed in the plankton. Post-larval snapper generally settles in suitable estuarine habitats such as seagrass beds and mangroves, although they are known for a variety of habitats. Estuarine nurseries offer rich food sources and protection from predators. Pre-juvenile and juvenile snappers feed by day until they reach a size of about 80 mm before moving into shallow rocky areas and coastal reefs where they are usually found as adults.

The Gray Snapper habitat

Gray snappers live in coastal and offshore waters, from very shallow areas to depths of 180 m. Significant concentrations of this snapper are frequently observed among coral reefs, rocky areas, estuaries and mangrove habitats.
The gray snapper can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Bermuda and south to Brazil.

The Gray Snapper angling

These fish are caught with beach seines, traps, gillnets, fishing gear, hand lines and spears.

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