Snapper, a large family of fish that inhabit temperate and tropical waters. Most of the nearly 250 species of snapper are important food fish; a few species are poisonous. Snappers are usually two to three feet in length and are often brightly colored. They have deep bodies, flattened heads, and large mouths with many teeth. They are predatory, feeding on other fish, crabs, squid, and shrimp.Snappers inhabit temperate and tropical waters.
The red snapper and the gray, or mangrove, snapper are two of the best-known species in American waters. Both are considered to be good eating. The red snapper, which is rose-red in color, is usually two to three feet (60–90 cm) long and weighs 10 to 35 pounds (4.5–16 kg). It inhabits deep water and is found from Long Island to Brazil; it is most abundant in the Gulf of Mexico. The gray snapper, which is dark green above and gray below, is about 1 1/2 feet (45 cm) long and usually weighs about 5 pounds (2.25 kg). It is very common along the shores of the Bahamas and southern Florida, and in the Caribbean Sea.
Another colorful species of snapper, the yellowtail, is found in abundance around the Florida Keys. It has a yellow tail and fins; the upper part of its body is bluish with yellow spots, and along each of its sides is a broad yellow stripe. The yellowtail is also a good food and game fish. It averages about two feet (60 cm) in length and weighs one to six pounds (0.45–2.7 kg).
The blue-line (or Indian Ocean) snapper is a tropical fish. It inhabits deep waters of the Indian Ocean. It is yellow with light blue stripes along its sides from the mouth to the tail. It averages two to three feet (60–90 cm) in length and weighs 10 to 17 pounds (4.5–7.7 kg).
Snappers make up the family Lutjanidae. The red snapper is Lutjanus blackfordi (or L. campechanus ); the gray snapper, L. griseus; the yellowtail snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus; the blue-line snapper, L. kasmira.