True to its name, this western Atlantic fish is typically grey in color, although it may vary to include a reddish tinge and dark stripe through the eye. The grey snapper is found in a variety of environments in the western Atlantic, with the juvenile staying closer to shore then the adult. This snapper feeds at night on small fishes, crabs and other small aquatic animals.
  • Size

    30 inches (76 cm)
  • Diet

    Small fishes, shrimp, crabs, gastropods and some planktonic items
  • Range

    Western Atlantic ocean
  • Habitat

    Subtropical areas in marine, estuarine and fresh water

Physical Characteristics


  • Can reach 30 inches (76 cm) in total length. The largest individual caught weighed about 18 lbs. (8.2 kg). However, it rarely exceeds 8 lbs. (3.6 kg).

Body Composition

  • Juvenile has a dark stripe from snout through the eye to the upper operculum and a blue stripe on the cheek below the eye.


  • Variable in color from gray to coppery to reddish, often with a dark stripe through the eye.


Animal Fact

The grey snapper, also known as the mangrove snapper, is considered a desirable food fish, and is a popular game fish species in Florida.

Diet / Feeding

  • Feeds at night on small fishes, shrimp, crabs, gastropods and some planktonic items.

Range / Habitat


  • Occurs in the Western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Bermuda, southward to Brazil, including the West Indies, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.


  • Primarily found in subtropical areas in marine, estuarine and fresh water at depths ranging from about 16 to 590 feet (5 – 180 m). Juvenile usually seen closer to shore than adult.
  • Inhabits coastal as well as offshore waters around coral reefs, rocky areas, estuaries, mangrove areas and, sometimes, in the lower reaches of rivers (especially the young).
  • Juvenile usually associates with Thalassia seagrass beds, mangrove roots, jetties and pilings.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Forms large aggregations when spawning.
  • Spawning occurs in open water from June to October. Individuals may spawn more than once per season. The pelagic eggs hatch in about 20 hours.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Considered a good food fish and is exploited commercially and as a game fish, especially in Florida, where it is often called a “mangrove snapper.”


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