Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Yellowtail snappers range from 30 to 75 centimeters in length. The long tapered body manifests silver-white in color with a bright yellow strip running down the midbody to the yellow tail.
Each individual of this species exhibits two types of teeth; the fine, densely packed villoform teeth are located on both the upper and lower jaws, while the canine teeth, a defining characteristic of snappers, are located only on the upper jaw. The lower jaw reaches slightly beyond the upper jaw.
Ocyurus chrysurus is a generalist carnivore that feeds chiefly at night on a combination of plankton and benthic animals including fish, crustaceans, worms, gastropods and cephalopods. Juveniles feed primarily on plankton.
Individuals of the species usually swim considerably above the bottom and quite often form aggregations.
Spawning occurs throughout the year, with peaks at different times in different areas. Spawning occurs offshore during the new moon in the water column. After the eggs hatch, the larvae enter the pelagic stage until they reach about ten millimeters in length and settle onto the reef. They reach sexual maturity at 25 to 30 centimeters in length and they may live from six to fourteen years.
Sharks and other large predatory fishes, including the great barracuda, mackerel and grouper, in addition to other snapper species, feed on adult yellowtail snappers. A wide variety of predators feed on larvae and juveniles.
The yellowtail snapper is not considered to be a taxon at risk.
References and Further Reading
- Ocyurus chrysurus (Bloch, 1791)
- Snapper. Humann, P. and N. Deloach (Editor), 1994. Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc. Jacksonville, FL. ISBN: 1878348078
- Deloach, N. 1999. Reef Fish Behavior, Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc. Jacksonville, FL. ISBN: 1878348280