Fun Mutton Snapper Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
May 16, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Mutton snapper facts to discover more about marine life.

The mutton snapper (Lutjanus analis) is a species of snapper found in the Atlantic coastal waters from Massachusetts in the United States to southern Brazil in South America. They are found in the coastal waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Lutjanus analis are found more often in the Caribbean. The adults would be found in rocky regions underwater or coral reefs. The juvenile mutton snapper is found in the sandy region, where there is enough plankton for them to eat.

The mutton snapper is found in a depth of 82-295 ft (25-89.9 m). Their backs are olive-tinted and they have reddish-colored sides.

Muttons have blue stripes on their head and a black spot between their lateral line and dorsal fin. The mutton snapper is a commercially important fish. It is popular for the aquarium trade and as a game fish.

It is highly prized by saltwater anglers. The bait used to catch them are whole or cut squid, live or frozen shrimp, smaller baitfish like dead or alive pinfish, and minnows.

They prefer live bait to artificial bait. The adults are found in deeper water, and juveniles are found in shallower water.

They are known as great fighters, therefore, they are harder to land on lighter tackle. They are also caught for their meat which is considered to be a delicacy. The meat is light, flaky, and white and can be prepared in a variety of ways.

Here are some interesting facts about the mutton snapper skeleton and mutton snapper habitat. After reading these interesting mutton snapper facts, do check out our other articles on hogfish and porcupine fish as well.

Mutton Snapper Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a mutton snapper?

A mutton snapper (Lutjanus analis) is a kind of deep-sea fish found in the Caribbean region close to the coast from North America to the northern parts of South America. They are a popular fish as a prized catch, in aquariums, and also as a seafood delicacy.

What class of animal does a mutton snapper belong to?

The mutton snapper (Lutjanus analis) belongs to the fish class of animals. Mutton snappers are known to spawn eggs in the water.  Mutton snappers are highly prized by saltwater anglers.

How many mutton snappers are there in the world?

The exact population of mutton snappers in the world is difficult to find, as the fish is a prized catch in its native lands. The population is already threatened due to its popularity among deep-sea anglers.

Where does a mutton snapper live?

The mutton snapper is found in the Atlantic coastal waters from Massachusetts in the United States to Southern Brazil in South America. Muttons are found in the coastal water of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

They are found more often in the Caribbean. They are also found in the tropical waters of the Bahamas and Florida. Adults prefer to live in areas with rock or coral whereas the juveniles reside in sandy habitats.

What is a mutton snapper's habitat?

The mutton snapper is found on offshore reefs and in rock rubble regions. The juveniles are found in the sandy inshore regions.

The young ones are found in the tidal mangrove, grass beds, canals, creeks, and shallow protected bays where there is a bottom cover of turtle grass. Solitary adults can be found at a depth of 82-295 ft in coral reefs or rocky regions.

The adults prefer to stay in their areas only and can sometimes be located at depths of around 230 ft.

Who do mutton snappers live with?

The mutton snapper can be found alone or in small groups. The juveniles may live close to one another, but adults may form aggregations during the day and retire alone at night.

How long does a mutton snapper live?

The maximum age of a mutton snapper is 40 years. The average age is around 14 years. As this fish is caught for a variety of reasons, it may rarely reach its maximum age. If it is kept in an aquarium with good care, it may reach its maximum age.

How do they reproduce?

The mutton snapper spawns throughout its habitat, especially in the northeastern Caribbean. The mutton snapper's maturity for mating is gauged by its size, wherein the species should be at least 16 in long for the breeding to occur.

Snappers are known to form large groups called aggregations, which are transient while spawning. The spawning season takes place in the Caribbean in February, otherwise, it occurs during the summer.

Muttons are known to spawn in the same region year after year, around the same time as per the lunar calendar, every year. They have a high site fidelity. The larva is a plankton eater when it is a size of 10 mm.

Very little is known about their growing up process. This common snapper species may take refuge in protected regions away from predators during these times.

Juveniles have brown or green lateral bands and transparent fins when they are 15 mm in length. As they grow to the size of 0.86 in, they develop a yellow lateral stripe.

What is their conservation status?

Their conservation status is near threatened. It has a high commercial value, and it is considered a game fish. They are also prized fish in the aquarium trade and for their meat.

This has led to a sharp decline in their population in the wild. Moreover, these fishes are occasionally caught while chumming for mangroves and yellowtail. These common snappers may be harvested in Atlantic waters.

Mutton Snapper Fun Facts

What do mutton snappers look like?

Underwater view of a mutton snapper hiding in a reef.

Their backs are olive-tinted and they have reddish-colored sides. They have blue stripes on their head and a black spot between their lateral line and dorsal fin which is often confused by people as mutton snapper black lips.

They have blue stripes on their head and a black spot between their lateral line and dorsal fin. The mutton snapper has a deep body that is almond-shaped and a lunate-shaped tail. It has a moderate bi-lobed dorsal fin and a sharply pointed anal fin and a long pectoral fin.

How cute are they?

They are colorful fish with a good deep body that is almond-shaped. They are cute and are great pets for your aquarium.

How do they communicate?

Not much is known about mutton snapper sound or body language-based communication skills as it is a solitary fish that is essentially considered a game fish.

How big is a mutton snapper?

Mutton snapper size limit ranges between 20-37 in (50.8-94 cm). They are medium-sized fish that grow well in suitable habitats.

How fast can a mutton snapper swim?

Like its similar species, the lane snapper, the mutton snapper prefers to stay in the location where it has grown and does not migrate much. The mutton snapper may be an average swimmer in the deep ocean off the Atlantic coasts.

How much does a mutton snapper weigh?

The mutton snapper weighs around 18-25 lb (8.2-11.3 kg). It is a high-value gamefish, so the heavier or bigger fish caught, the better price it commands. The mutton snapper's world record weight is 34 lb (15.4 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female species of mutton snappers do not have a specific name. They are known as male mutton snappers and female mutton snappers respectively.

What would you call a baby mutton snapper?

The baby mutton snapper is called larvae or juvenile.

What do they eat?

At the larvae stage, they eat planktons and settle in grassy beds, where they will feed on larger planktons and small invertebrates. As they grow into juveniles, they will eat crabs, snails, shrimps, and small fish like mullets. They are known to pick their food throughout the day. It can spend the whole day picking on the food.

Are they eaten by humans?

Yes, like all snappers, the mutton snapper is also considered a delicacy. Snappers are cooked in a variety of ways as the meat is tender, white, and flaky.

They have more meat than other snappers. Mutton snapper tastes mild and sweet, making it extremely popular with seafood lovers. Mutton snapper parasite infestation is a common occurrence and the meat must be cooked thoroughly before consumption.

Would they make a good pet?

They are a great addition to the aquarium and are in demand with great commercial value. There is always demand for the aquarium trade, but the Vulnerable status of the IUCN has prompted mutton snapper regulations that govern the mutton snapper trade.  

Did you know...

The mutton snapper has lean, firm-textured flesh that is tinted pink. It has a mildly sweet flavor when eaten fresh.

For spawning, they are known to follow a lunar calendar and mostly release their eggs on a full moon.

Though this species is easy to catch, some basic fishing skills are desirable. To catch this prized fish, anglers must use suitable bait and let the bait move around aimlessly in the water.

Mutton snappers are poisonous. Ciguatera poisoning is the name given to the ailment caused by consuming mutton snapper if the fish has ingested toxins from algae.  

Though people tend to confuse the mutton snapper with the lane snapper, when you compare the lane snapper vs. the mutton snapper carefully, there are some differences.

Where do juveniles live vs. adults?

The juveniles are found in shallow water close to the shore in sandy habitats with plentiful weeds. The adults are found in rocky regions or coral reefs in deep waters.

Muttons have a pointed pelvic fin while the lanes have a rounded pelvic fin. Moreover, the anal and pelvic fins in muttons are pink while in lanes they are yellow.

What is the world record mutton snapper?

The world record size mutton snapper ever caught is a 34 lb (15.4 kg) fish caught by Richard Casey on 29 November 1998, at Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including the cherry barb and the Congo tetra.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our mutton snapper coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

Read full bio >