FACT SHEET 15
• Snappers are medium to large slender bodied fish with a continuous dorsal fin, large coarse scales, large canine teeth, a maxillary mostly covered by the cheek, and an emarginated to forked tail.
• Most species are carnivorous and prey on crustaceans and fishes, although several are planktivores.
• Most inhabit inshore and reef waters, but many occur at depths of 90 to 360m. They are amongst the most important of commercial bottom fishes.
• There are over 150 species of snapper found throughout the tropics. These active schooling fishes can grow to 2 – 3 ft (60 – 90 cm) long. An adult snapper can live for more than 50 years.
• Snappers are nocturnally active predators feeding mainly on fish, crabs, shrimps, gastropods, cephalopods and planktonic organisms.
• Snappers, and in particular the red emperor (Lutjanus sebae) which is the snapper family, not the emperor family, are a favourite angling species. Chinaman fish (Symphorus nematophorus) are frequently implicated in ciguatera poisoning.
• Reef Check Australia identify and monitor snappers. Low numbers observed on Reef Check surveys is an indication of overfishing.
Interesting Fact: The vibrant red color of the Red snapper comes from high levels of carotenoid pigments, largely astaxanthin, coming from shrimp in their natural diet.
• Reef Education: http://www.reefed.edu.au/home/explorer/animals/marine_vertebrates/fishes/reef_predators
• Answers Dictionary: http://www.answers.com/topic/snapper