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snapper, name for members of the Lutianidae, a family of spiny-finned food and game fishes found chiefly in tropical coastal waters. Snappers are carnivorous, active, and voracious, with large mouths and sharp teeth. Most species travel in dense schools. Best known is the red snapper, an important food fish. It is abundant in the Gulf of Mexico and also frequents the Atlantic Coast north to Long Island. The red snapper grows to 3 ft (90 cm) in length, weighs up to 35 lb (16 kg), and is a deep rose-red in color. Its flesh keeps well and is shipped in quantity to many parts of the United States. Other snappers are the Pensacola and Caribbean red snappers, the mangrove and dog snappers, the muttonfish, and the yellowtail. Snappers are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Osteichthyes, order Charadriiformes, family Scolapacidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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