Lutjanus apodus

Common Name


Year Described

Walbaum, 1792


Dorsal Fin: X, 14
Anal Fin: III, 7-8 (usually 8)
Pectoral Fin: 16-17
Gill Rakers: 5-7 upper, 11-15 lower; 17-22 total
Lateral Line Scales: 40-45

Body relatively deep (2.3-2.8 times in SL) and moderately compressed. Upper and lower jaws with a row of conical teeth. Anterior upper jaw teeth enlarged. Vomerine teeth in a anchor-shaped patch with a median extension. Palatine teeth an elongate band. Ectopterygoid teeth absent. Soft dorsal and anal fins with scales on membranes. Maxilla scaleless. No distinct notch between spiny and soft dorsal fins. Last dorsal ray not elongated. Soft dorsal fin rounded. Anal fin rounded. Pectoral fin longer than distance from snout to preopercular margin (3-3.5 times in SL). Caudal fin emarginate or slightly forked.


Body varies from olive, brown, reddish, to yellowish-brown. Belly is paler. There are usually several pale vertical bars on the body. Younger fish with a dark eye-stripe and a blue stripe under the eye that fade with maturity. Fins a contrasting bright yellow.


Maximum size to 62cm TL. Commonly to 35cm TL.


Shallow coastal waters from coral reefs and rocky substrates to mud bottoms and seagrass beds.


New England to NE Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Also Bermuda.


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.