Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Apsilus dentatus, Black Snapper

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

convex between eyes
D X, 10, no notch
D & A: no scales, last ray < previous ray
body & fins dark grey
top jaw: no scales

Apsilus dentatus Guichenot, 1853

Black Snapper

Body an elongate oval; convex between eyes; top jaw moderately protrusible, slips under cheek bone for most of its length when mouth is closed; jaws with distinct canines, teeth in an inner band of simple teeth and an outer row of conical teeth; front and sides of roof of mouth with small conical teeth; tooth patch on center of roof of mouth triangular or V shaped; no enlarged pores on chin; preoperculum serrated; gill rakers 22-24; dorsal fin continuous, not notched between spiny and soft parts, X, 10, occasionally 9; anal fin III, 8; last ray of dorsal and anal fins a little shorter than preceding ray; pectorals long, about 2/3 head length, 15-16 rays; scales medium-sized to small; body, cheek and operculum scaly; snout, below eye, lower jaw & rear of top jawbone scale-less; dorsal and anal fins scaleless; tubed lateral line scales 58-63.

Adult: Violet to brownish black, most intense on head; paler below. Juvenile: body bright blue; iris bronze, with black edge; fins brown to black, tail fin with pale rear edge, some fish with blue on fins.

Reaches 65 cm; 3.2 kg.

On hard bottoms.

Depth range: 12-300 m, usually below 40 m.

North Carolina to the S Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Near Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Sponges
  • Water column
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 65
Depth Range Min
  • 12
Depth Range Max
  • 300