Fish Identification: Schoolmaster

Usually referred to as a "schoolmaster", this fish is part of the snapper family and could also be referred to as a "schoolmaster snapper."

Physical description

[Schoolmaster snapper][]
Schoolmaster can reach lengths up to 24 inches (60 cm), but are common around 12 inches (35 cm).

Schoolmasters are most often recognized by two attributes. First, they have a sharply pointed snout. Second, they have bright yellow fins, which include caudal, pectoral, pelvic, dorsal, and anal.

Sometimes you will also see light vertical bands along their body, as in the schoolmaster pictured here.

Geography and habitat

Schoolmaster snapper are found all along the western Atlantic down to South America, from Massachusetts to Brazil.

You'll find them in clear, warm water, usually over coral reefs. They usually maintain a short distance above the sea floor.

Unlike most fish we cover, schoolmasters are often found in groups. The size of these groups can range from just a few fish up to a few dozen.

Further reading

Reef Guide

[Schoolmaster snapper]: