Rosy-red with a white underside. Has red eyes, sharp needle-like teeth, and a pointed anal fin that differs from the rounded anal fin on other snappers. Can grow to more than 40 pounds.
Range and Habitat
Live around natural and manmade structures and over sand or mud bottoms. Bottom-dwelling but will rise in the water column to feed and spawn. Segregate according to size—varying sizes may live in different types of habitat. 1 to 2-year olds inhabit shoreward bottoms. Between 3 and 8 years, they move further out to structure. After age 10 or so, they move further out to deeper shelf waters. Do not make seasonal migrations.
Voracious opportunistic feeders, eating a variety of marine organisms including fish, tunicates, squid, crab, shrimp, and zooplankton. Females mature and start spawning between the ages of 2 and 6; males generally mature at younger ages than females. Spawning begins in May and ends in September, peaking from May through July. Females spawn a batch of 1,000 to 2.5 million eggs every four to five days throughout the spawning season. Can live up to 55 years, but few survive that long. Older red snappers (greater than 20 years) are scarce in the Gulf population these days.