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Sea Life, Animals
& Exhibits

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Gray Snapper

(Lutjanus griseu)

The gray snappers species name griseu translates from Latin to the word gray.  They are also commonly known as Mangrove Snappers.

Habitat

The gray snapper is found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Bermuda, southward to Brazil, including Bermuda, Bahamas, West Indies, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. It is especially abundant around the coastline of Florida. Gray snappers reside in coastal as well as offshore waters from very shallow areas to depths of 585 feet. Large aggregations of this snapper are frequently observed amongst coral reefs, rocky areas, estuaries, and mangrove habitats. Young gray snapper live inshore in areas such as sea grass beds as well as soft and sand-bottom areas but may be found in a variety of habitats and a number of inshore habitats are important nurseries for this species. Both adults and juveniles have been found in freshwater lakes and rivers in south Florida, a clear indication that the species is tolerant of a broad range of salinity levels. 

Diet

Both of the snappers jaws have a narrow band of villiform (fine, densely packed hair-like) teeth, while the upper jaw contains four strong canine teeth, two of which are enlarged and easy to see. Gray snapper are opportunistic predators. Larvae feed on copepods and amphipods. Juvenile gray snappers feed by day among sea grass beds, mainly on crustaceans and fish and to a lesser degree polychaete worms and mollusks. Foraging nocturnally, adult gray snapper prey upon small fishes, shrimps, crabs, gastropods, and cephalopods. 

Behavior

Spawning occurs from April to November with a peak during the summer months, and is influenced by the lunar cycle. Individual snappers may spawn multiple times during the course of the reproductive season. Gray snapper spawn in aggregations during the times surrounding the full moon.

Predators

Natural predators of all life stages of this snapper are numerous and include sharks, barracuda, grouper, moray eels and other snapper species.