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Species: Lutjanus apodus, Schoolmaster snapper

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

blue line along cheek
juv: oblique head stripe + pale bars
D usually 14
juv: oblique dark stripe - snout to back of nape, pale bars on body
roof mouth tooth patch: anchor shaped
A rounded end
LL 40-45

Lutjanus apodus (Walbaum, 1792)

Schoolmaster snapper

Body relatively deep, compressed; front and rear nostrils simple holes; mouth relatively large, top jaw moderately protrusible, slips under cheek bone for most of its length when mouth is closed; one or more rows of pointed conical teeth on jaws, large canines at front, those at top larger; an anchor shaped patch of teeth with a rear extension on center of roof of mouth; sides of roof of mouth with 1 pair of tooth patches; 11-15 lower gill rakers; preopercle serrated, lower margin weakly notched; dorsal continuous, often with slight notch behind spiny part, usually X, 14; anal III, 8, fin tip rounded; pectoral fin longer than distance between tip of snout and rear edge of preopercle; tail edge slightly concave; body, cheek and operculum scaly; snout, below eye and both jaws scale-less; membranes of soft dorsal and anal fins scaly; lateral line scales 40-45; scales above lateral line 5-7; cheek scales 7-8 (6-9) rows.

Upper head and body olive, with a yellow tint, lower parts lighter; a series of 8 pale bars on body, which fade with growth; cheek with a blue line, rarely a row of blue dots; fins bright yellow to pale orange. Juvenile: like adult but also with a dark oblique bar from tip of snout through eye to nape.

Reaches  67.2 cm; 10.8 kg.

Vegetated and sand bottoms, mangroves, reefs.

Depth range: 1-156 m.

New England (rarely) to the S Caribbean.

Note: L. alexandrei is the brazilian sister species of L apodus.   It is not known if  occurs in the SE Caribbean, along with other Brazilian species.  L. alexandrei differs from in having 6 rather than 8 pale bars on the body, and in having bright blue spots on the snout, cheek and lower part of the head (absent in L apodus).  


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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Near Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Mud
  • Rocks
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Corals
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Beach
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • Data
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • All species.
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Extends North of GC
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species..
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 67.2
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 156