Lutjanus campechanus

Common Name

Red Snapper

Year Described

Poey, 1860


Dorsal Fin: X, 13-15 (usually 14)
Anal Fin: III, 8-9 (usually 9)
Pectoral Fin: 15-18
Gill Rakers: 6-8 upper, 14-16 lower; 21-24 total
Lateral Line Scales: 46-51

Body relatively deep 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. Scales above lateral line 7-10, scales below lateral line 15-19, and sum of scales on, above, and below lateral line totals 69-75. No distinct notch between spiny and soft dorsal fins. Last dorsal ray not elongated. Soft dorsal fin pointed. Anal fin angular and pointed. Caudal fin lunate or truncate.


Body bright red to rosy, grading to whitish on the belly. A diffuse dark blotch on the lateral line below the soft dorsal fin fades with size. Young fish with a dark spot under the anterior dorsal fin. Eye red. Fins body colored. Caudal fin with a dark margin.


Maximum size to 100cm TL. Commonly to 60cm TL.


Deeper continental shelf waters from 10-190m (usually under 30m). Adults on hard bottoms and artificial reefs. Juveniles in shallow coastal waters.


Massachusetts to Florida and the entire Gulf of Mexico. Not found in the Caribbean or south of the Yucatan.


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.

Other Notes

Confused with L. purpureus, which is found from the Caribbean Sea south.