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.
  • 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).
  • Juveniles have a dark stripe from the 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). Juveniles are usually seen closer to shore than adults.
  • 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

  • “Least Concern” 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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