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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Mangrove Snapper: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Fish lovers would like to read mangrove snapper facts.

Have you been thinking about fish like salmon or snappers that frequently make it to your plates? If yes, you would like to know about the Mangrove snapper (Lutjanus griseus), also known as the gray snapper. This lively fish is found in the western Atlantic Ocean, and it inhabits different areas like canals, seagrass beds, coral reefs, estuaries, mangrove areas, and docks. Even though this fish is known to be gray, its upper body often has a reddish tinge. The fish is popular for people who participate in recreational fishing. Most anglers prefer to catch these in Florida as it has a considerable population appropriate for fishing, and the fishes are much bigger.

Apart from casual fishing, the gray snapper is also known for its flaky white meat that has a slightly sweet and fresh taste. The habitat of young fishes is a little different as it may travel towards grass beds, while adults often stay in offshore areas. These fishes mainly eat shrimp, live fish, and crustaceans commonly found in their habitat. Want to know more about this species? Keep reading to find interesting mangrove snapper facts. Also, check out the articles on lane snapper and mutton snapper to know more about snappers.


Mangrove Snapper Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a mangrove snapper?

The mangrove snapper (Lutjanus griseus) or gray snapper is a medium-sized fish found predominantly in the Gulf of Mexico and Florida.

What class of animal does a mangrove snapper belong to?

The mangrove snapper belongs to the class Actinopterygii and to the genus Lutjanus. Barracudas are a potential predator of this species that also belong to the class Actinopterygii.

How many mangrove snappers are there in the world?

As a widely found fish, it is hard to note down the exact population of this snapper species. The population is especially thriving in areas like the Gulf of Mexico and Cuba where the fish isn't a popular catch for fishing.

Where does a mangrove snapper live?

The mangrove snapper lives in the western Atlantic Ocean. Its range stretches from Massachusetts to Brazil. This fish species is also found in the Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda, Bahamas, and around the Caribbean Sea. In the U.S, most of the gray snapper populations are concentrated in areas around Florida, and the waters are full of juveniles. This makes the place great for anglers who enjoy offshore and inshore fishing.

What is a mangrove snapper's habitat?

The mangrove snappers (Lutjanus griseus) prefer to live in warm waters, and the common habitats include canals, seagrass beds, coral reefs, estuaries, and mangrove areas. This fish gets its name from its affinity to mangrove habitats. These fishes also prefer to inhabit areas with structures such as docks, shipwrecks, coral reefs, and debris. Even though the spawning takes place in offshore areas, the larvae will often swim and settle in inshore freshwater areas that have a shallow depth.

Who do mangrove snappers live with?

The mangrove snappers often live together in large schools. For this reason, anglers do need to be careful about fishing, as they miss a catch pretty easily. A lot of baits or lures, especially live fishes and shrimp, might be used for fishing. This fish is considered a hard game for fishing because of the sheer number of individuals that might concentrate near baits.

How long does a mangrove snapper live?

The average lifespan of the mangrove snapper is around 21-28 years.

How do they reproduce?

One of the most interesting things about the gray snapper is its spawning or breeding habits. This species of snapper are known to spawn during full moon nights when the females lay thousands of eggs at a time. The breeding mainly takes place during June-August. Demersal eggs are laid by this snapper and it generally hatches within 45 hours. After hatching, the juveniles prefer to stay in the dark, shallow seagrass beds and will move towards estuaries. Juveniles feed during the day, unlike the parents, and have a dark body with a dark stripe running from the snout to its eyes. The small fishes are mainly on plankton. These fishes have to wait and attain a perfect length before they can move to offshore habitats. It takes two years for the fish to mature and mate with a suitable snapper.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, the mangrove snapper (Lutjanus griseus) is currently listed as a species of Least Concern.

Mangrove Snapper Fun Facts

What do mangrove snappers look like?

The mangrove snapper may look similar to other snapper species; hence it's always better to know ways to identify it. Even though it is called a gray snapper, the upper body of this fish is often covered in reddish-brown scales. This snapper has an oblong-shaped body with a triangle-shaped head and a notched tail. The mouth and snout of this fish are quite prominent. If you look closer at its mouth, you will be able to see prominent canine teeth that help it to feed on shrimp and small fish.

The body color may vary according to the fish's location from dark gray to a paler gray, and some may also appear dark brown. The body may also have a tinge or sheen of bronze, olive or red colors. A juvenile gray snapper usually has red or yellowfins, but it turns gray as the fish matures. A dark stripe near the mouth and eyes can also be seen in the adult snappers, but the line might be very faint. This fish looks quite similar to the cubera snapper. This fish shouldn't be confused with the mangrove red snapper that has a red tinge throughout its body.

Kids will like to know about the mangrove snapper.

How cute are they?

This medium-sized fish is rather plain-looking; hence we wouldn't really call it cute.

How do they communicate?

Even though we do not know a lot about the communication styles of the mangrove snapper, we can guess that it can use chemical, auditory, and sensory techniques like other fish species. The adult snapper mainly hunts during the night, so it does have great low-light sensitivity.

How big is a mangrove snapper?

The average mangrove snapper size range is around 10-14 in (25.4-35.5 cm). Its length does vary according to the location, and it is noted that offshore areas have larger snappers compared to inshore areas. Compared to this fish, the coho salmon has an average length range of 24-30 in (60-76.2 cm), making these fishes quite similar in size. Gray snappers living in Florida tend to be quite large.

How fast can a mangrove snapper swim?

Not a lot is known about the swimming speed of this snapper species.

How much does a mangrove snapper weigh?

The average inshore weight range of the snapper is around 2.2- 10 lb (1-5 kg) while the offshore weight range can go up to 44 lb (20 kg). Its weight does vary a lot depending on where the fish is living.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for the male and female of this species and are thus called mangrove snapper for both male and female species.

What would you call a baby mangrove snapper?

A baby mangrove snapper is called a fry.

What do they eat?

We are yet to know a lot about the eating habits of these fishes. However, studies have shown that it predominantly feeds on small fish, shrimp, and crustaceans. Baits and lures of live fish are used while line fishing as it works the best. The young fishes feed mainly on plankton while living in the grass beds.

Are they poisonous?

No, this isn't a poisonous fish.

Would they make a good pet?

If you happen to catch a gray snapper, it might be a good opportunity to keep it as a pet to learn more about the fish. However, the mangrove snapper is mainly farmed for human consumption. If you are planning to visit Florida for line fishing, make sure to read the guidelines before setting out on your journey.

Did you know...

While fishing, anglers like to use fluorocarbon lines as it is hard to see for the fish even with its good eyesight.

These fishes mainly live in water with a depth of 16-591 ft (4.8- 180 m). The schools will move towards deeper water in winters to avoid the cold.

Catching and eating mangrove snappers

Catching mangrove snappers is definitely a thing, and there are anglers who are dedicated to it. People do end up catching the fish for the thrill that it generates, but anglers also tell us about the snapper as a delicacy. This fish can be caught inshore or offshore based on your preferred location. Florida has some of the largest gray snappers seen to date. The jigs and small shrimp flies work great as baits while you are line fishing in an inshore area. When you fish offshore, try to use baits like small fish like pilchards. Other great baits include squid, mullet, ballyhoo, and pinfish. Still fishing, casting, and drifting are the most popular ways for anglers to catch this species.

After catching the fish, anglers may decide to either eat the fish or not, and in most cases, they do end up feasting on the gray snapper. The fish is said to have versatile flesh that can be easily cooked in multiple ways.

Mangrove snapper world records

To date, the heaviest mangrove snapper or gray snapper has been caught by an angler Tim Champagne. The fish weighed 18.6 lb (8.45 kg) and was caught in Cocodrie, Louisiana, USA, on 22 July 2015. This achievement related to the fish was included under the All-Tackle World Records.

The biggest mangrove fish, based on its length, was caught by Jan Forszpaniak, M.D. in St. Augustine, Florida, USA, and the fish measured 27.9 in (70.8 cm).

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fishes from our brown trout facts and Atlantic cod facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Mangrove snapper coloring pages.

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