Apsilus dentatus

Common Name

Black Snapper

Year Described

Guichenot, 1853


Dorsal Fin: X, 9-10 (usually 10)
Anal Fin: III, 8
Pectoral Fin: 15-16
Gill Rakers: 7-8 upper, 15-16 lower; 22-24 total
Lateral Line Scales: 58-63

Body moderately elongate and compressed. Interorbital region convex. Upper and lower jaws with two rows of teeth. Anterior teeth enlarged. Vomerine teeth in a chevron-shaped or triangular patch. Palatine teeth an elongate band. Ectopterygoid teeth absent. Soft dorsal and anal fins without scales. Maxilla scaleless. No distinct notch between spiny and soft dorsal fins. Last dorsal ray shorter than the one anterior to it. Caudal fin forked to emarginate.


Body and fins uniformly bronze, brown, or dark gray without any spots or bars. Scale centers slightly darker. Belly paler. Caudal fin with pale margin. Juveniles bright blue.


Maximum size to 55cm TL. Commonly to 40cm TL.


Offshore hard bottom habitat and drop-offs from 12-240m. Juveniles in shallow water around reefs.


Scattered records in the Caribbean islands, the NW Gulf of Mexico, Belize, and Venezuela.


Anderson, W.D. 2002. Lutjanidae (pp. 1479-1504). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 3: Bony fishes part 2 (Opistognathidae to Molidae). FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5. FAO of the U.N., Rome.