Silk Snapper

Often marketed as Red Snapper the meat texture and color are virtually indistinguishable. The rose red skin also makes it hard to tell the difference but the Silk Snapper has a bright yellow eye versus the red eye on the Red snapper and the Silk has black on its tail. The yellow iris identifies the silk snapper from its close relatives, the red snapper and the blackfin snapper, both of which possess a red iris. The blackfin also has a very distinctive black spot at the base of the pectoral fin. Another red-colored sapper, the vermilion snapper, is distinguished by its more streamlined body and deeply forked tail. The body of the silk snapper is red overall, darker above and lighter below with fine wavy longitudinal yellow lines. The caudal fin has a dusky margin. The species commonly occurs in the western Atlantic from northern South America to North Carolina. It is found in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean as well as around Bermuda. Off Bermuda, the species is common at depths of 400-500 feet during the day, and shallower waters at night. In the Bahamas, it is caught by the Gulf Stream in waters 500-800 feet deep and in the Carolinas in 200-400 feet deep. In studies, the smallest sexually mature silk snappers were a 9-inch female and an 11-inch male. Spawning occurs from late spring through the summer. The silk snapper feeds on crabs, shrimp and fishes.