Fish Identification: Yellowtail Snapper

Today's fish is the yellowtail snapper, or sometimes just called the yellowtail.

Physical description

[Yellowtail snapper][]
Being a snapper, the yellowtail has that perfectly shaped oval "fish" body. The caudal fin is deeply forked, hinting at the swift movement of this active fish.

A yellow line marks this fish, beginning at the snout and widening down the length of the body until it covers the entire tail, hence the name.

Yellowtail snapper can grow up to 30 inches in length, although lengths of around 12 inches are probably more common in diving environments.

Geography and habitat

Yellowtail live in the western Atlantic, off the eastern coast of the U.S. all the way down to Brazil. This makes them a standard Caribbean sighting.

You'll sometimes see them in schools, although a solitary yellowtail is not an uncommon sight. They also like to feed near the bottom.


Yellowtail have a slightly sweet flesh, making them a popular game fish. They are classified as "Eco-OK", which means they are fine to eat in moderation.

Further reading

Florida Museum of Natural History
Environmental Defense Fund

[Yellowtail snapper]: