The red snapper fish is more commonly called the Northern red snapper fish. There are many other snapper fish out there. However, in the continental United States, it is the northern red snapper fish that is caught most commonly. People who have never caught it or seen it often wonder: does red snapper have scales and fins?
Well, let us put an end to that question. The Northern red snapper fish does have both scales and fins. The scales of the red snappers are medium to large in size, and they seem to have an angular anal fin as well as fourteen soft dorsal fin rays.
Well, now that the confusion over scales and fins is over, let us enlighten you about some other facts regarding the northern red snapper. Read along with the article to find out what these facts are.
An Overview Of The Northern Red Snapper
Scientific Name: Lutjanus campechanus
Weight: 13 kg on average (Adult)
As a food fish, the red snapper fish is quite famous. This prized food fish is caught not only commercially but also recreationally. In fact, this is quite a sought-after game fish. However, when it comes to looks, the northern red snapper, unfortunately, is not a unique one.
The shape of a red snapper fish’s body is actually quite similar to other snapper fishes out there, such as lane snapper, dog snapper, mangrove snapper etc. All these snappers have medium to large scales, a spiny dorsal fin and a sloped profile.
However, what distinguishes the Northern red snapper from the rest are its sharp and short teeth that are often said to look like needles. Moreover, unlike the others, the red snapper fish has a sharp and pointed anal fin. The Northern red snapper fish can get quite large in size. Its name is quite literal. The red snapper fish do actually have a deep rosy red color.
The growth rate of the Northern red snapper fish is considerably moderate. This fish can weigh up to 50 pounds and have the ability to reach 40 inches long. Moreover, this is a fish with a very long lifespan. There have been reports of finding 57 years old red snapper fish in the Gulf of Mexico.
Range And Habitat Of The Northern Red Snapper
The Northern red snapper fish is quite common in the continental United States. You can easily find this fish if you search 30-620 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico. This fish can also be found around the eastern coast of Central America, North America as well as Northern South America. However, it is very rare to find red snapper in the north of the Carolinas.
The habitat of the red snapper varies with its age. The larval red snapper is often found swimming freely in the water column. The juvenile red snappers are often seen in shallow water that has a muddy or sandy bottom. Adults, however, are found at the bottom. They prefer to live near hard structures such as rocks, coral reefs, limestone deposits etc.
Food Of The Northern Red Snapper Fish
The diet list of the northern red snapper is quite diverse. This fish feeds on not only other fishes, shrimps and crabs but also squid, octopus or small plankton (very small floating animals and plants). However, the young red snappers often become the food themselves for other marine creatures, such as jacks, sharks, morays, barracudas etc.
Can You Eat The Northern Red Snapper Fish?
The red snapper fish is a pretty common food fish. In fact, for some people, eating red snapper fish regularly is a pretty normal thing. However, while this fish is certainly edible, it is advised to only eat this fish once or twice a week. This is because as the red snapper fish usually lives a long life and feeds on other small fishes, the mercury level in the fish is quite high.
Related: Can You Eat Pike Fish?
Nutritional Facts Of The Red Snapper Fish
Despite the risk of mercury, the Northern red snapper fish is actually a healthy meal choice. That’s because this fish is high in nutrition. Some common nutrition found in the red snapper fish are:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamins D and E
Health Benefits Of The Red Snapper Fish
The Northern red snapper fish is not just high in nutrition. The fish provides you with other health benefits as well. The red snapper fish is low in sodium and has less saturated fat than other fishes. This fish can be a great source of protein as well. In fact, if you wish to control your weight or lower the risk of getting heart disease, you should eat red snapper fish.
Moreover, as this fish has high selenium, eating this is good for your thyroid health. It is also good for increasing your white blood cell count. Besides, the existence of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium and different vitamin components plays a big role in boosting the nervous system and improving the cognitive functions of your body.
Other Fish Species Mistaken For The Northern Red Snapper
The red snapper fish does not seem to have a very distinguishing look. For this reason, oftentimes, people mistook other fish species for them. For instance, a fish called rockfish often gets confused with the actual Northern red snapper fish. This confusion is so widespread that people even call the rockfish a Pacific red snapper.
Other than that, other species such as lane snapper, black-fin snapper, as well as some species of bigeye fishes, are often mistaken for the Northern red snapper.
The Northern red snapper is a pretty popular fish that is often eaten by people. This fish is not only delicious but also has numerous health benefits as well. Moreover, the red snapper is not only caught commercially, it is a famous game fish as well.
You can find these fishes in abundance in the areas they are available. Besides, the red snapper is one of the most easily caught fish. We hope in your next fishing excursion, you will be able to catch one for yourself and end your confusion over the existence of the scales and fins of the red snapper.