Drift Fishing Singer Island, Florida Near West Palm Beach Produced This Large Dog Snapper

Facts About Dog Snappers

These tough-looking fish boast large canine teeth, set in their upper jaws, which are visible even when their mouths are closed. Smaller fish often fall victim to the dog snapper's powerful bite, as do shrimp, crabs, and other bottom-dwelling creatures.

Adult dog snappers prowl rocky seafloors and reefs at average depths of about 100 feet (30 meters). Their turf includes the western Atlantic Ocean from Brazil to Florida and, more rarely, north to Massachusetts.

The dog snapper is a bit of a lone wolf and tends to keep to itself most of the year. All that changes in March, however, when the fish gather in large groups to reproduce at spawning sites in the northeastern Caribbean and near the island of Jamaica.

Snappers may travel large distances to reach these spots. Once there they mingle en masse to release sperm (males) and eggs (females) into the sea. The eggs, and later the hatched larvae, are left to drift, and many individuals are devoured-but good numbers survive to eventual adulthood. Vulnerable young dog snappers tend to stay closer to shore and are often found swimming in estuaries.

Several things still puzzle scientists studying spawning aggregations, including how the fish choose these special sites and find their way back to them year after year. The fish do return, however, with amazing attention to both time and place.

Though this species is formidable it's not the top dog in the neighborhood. Adults fall victim to larger hunters like sharks and groupers, while tiny larvae are far more vulnerable and consumed with relish by all manner of marine creatures.


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Cobia and Snapper Caught Fishing off of Hobe Sound/Stuart Florida