Mahogany snapper

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Mahogany snapper. Photo by Barbara Shiveley. Florida Museum of Natural History

The mahogany snapper (scientific name: Lutjanus mahogoni) is a member of the snapper family (Family Lutjanidae) that lives on coral reefs in the Western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Also known as the lantern jaw, this species is characteristically found near shore or in waters of the epipelagic zone.


caption Mahogany snapper. Source: Florent Charpin/www.reefguide.org


Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Phylum:--- Chordata
Class:------ Osteichthyes (Bony Fishes)
Order:-------- Perciformes
Family:-------- Lutjanidae (Snappers)
Species:----------Lutjanus mahogoni (Cuvier, 1828)

Physical Description

Mahogany snappers range from 17.5 to 48.0 centimeters in length.   They are light colored with a reddish tint with and a reddish margin on their tails.


caption Distribution of mahogany snapper. Source: Florida Museum of Natural History

The species is found in the Western Atlantic from North Carolina, USA to Venezuela, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.


Mahogany snappers live near shore or offshore in water up to 100 meters in depth. They live over coral reefs and rocky bottoms, sandy areas, and grass beds.

Feeding Behavior

They are nocturnal generalist carnivores that feed at night on small bottom fishes, such as grunts, shrimp, cephalopods, and crabs.


Because this fish species forages nocturnally, the individuals spend  their days drifting among coral and gorgonians, either singly or in small groups.


Most reproduction occurs in the summer. Spawning occurs in the water column.  After about one day, eggs hatch and the larvae enter the pelagic stage until they settle onto the reef where they seek protection from predators.


Mahogany snappers ocassionally for associations with white grunts.

Conservation Status

The mahogany snapper is not considered to be a species at risk of extinction.

References and Further Reading

  • Encyclopedia of Life. Curator: C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Lutjanus mahogoni (Cuvier, 1828)
  • Florida Museum of Natural History. Mahogany Snapper
  • P.Humann and N.Deloach (Editor) 1994. Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc. Jacksonville, FL. ISBN: 1878348078>
  • N.Deloach. 1999. Reef Fish Behavior, Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc. Jacksonville, FL. ISBN: 1878348280


McGinley, M. (2011). Mahogany snapper. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/154359


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