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Species: Lutjanus purpureus, Caribbean Red Snapper, Southern Red Snapper

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

iris red
juv: dark spot under soft D
D 14
roof mouth tooth patch: anchor shaped
gill rakers 6-8+13-14
A 8, end pointed
scales: above LL 9-11, below LL 16-19, on LL 47-48

Lutjanus purpureus (Poey, 1866)

Caribbean Red Snapper, Southern Red 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, some as canines; 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; 6-8 + 13-14 gill rakers; preopercle serrated, lower margin weakly notched; dorsal continuous, often with slight notch behind spiny part, usually X, 14, (rarely 13 or 15); anal III, 8 (rarely 7 or 9), fin tip bluntly pointed in fish >5 cm SL; tail edge slightly concave; body, cheek and operculum scaly; snout, below eye and both jaws scale-less; lateral line scales 47-48 (46-51); scales above lateral line 9-11, 16-19 below lateral line; lateral scales 50-51 (49-52); membranes of soft dorsal and anal fins scaly.

Back and upper sides scarlet to brick red, pink in shallow water; sides and belly rosy; iris red; fins mostly red, with dark edges. Juvenile: fish < ~30 cm with a dark spot below front part of soft dorsal fin.

Reaches 100 cm; 22.8 kg.

Juveniles on sand and mud bottoms, adults on rocky bottoms.

Depth range: 30-340 m, adults usually 70-120 m.

Cuba to Brazil.

Note: The taxonomic status of L. purpureus is not fully clarified, and it may be a synonym of L. campechanus.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Rocks
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Corals
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 100
Depth Range Min
  • 30
Depth Range Max
  • 340