snapper, name for members of the Lutjanidae, 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 northern red snapper, often called 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 northern 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 mangrove and dog snappers, the mutton snapper or muttonfish, and the yellowtail snapper. Snappers are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, family Lutjanidae.
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