Mutton fish, Reef king, Pargo
The Mutton Snapper ranges in coloration from orange to a maroon type reddish brown. They are also known to range from silver to dark green near the back of the fish. Once adults reach maturity they can easily be confused with Red Snapper in appearance due to the overall reddish color they take on. To distinguish the two Mutton Snappers have small lines of a bluish color close to the eye. The Mutton Snapper is also equipped with anal and dorsal fins that come to a point.
Habitat & Behaviour
The Mutton Snapper can be found patrolling for prey in shallow to mid-depth waters along reefs and other structures in addition to other coastal features like bays.
The Mutton Snapper begins life feeding on plankton near the surface of the water. As they grow in size they take to grassy bottoms and feed on larger plankton and invertebrates. After reaching maturity they begin to subsist on crustaceans and some smaller fish such as grunts or mullet.
Reef fish like the Snapper require anglers to use dehooking tools and venting tools to safely release the fish. When releasing keep in water, remove hook with pliers or dehooker and vent accordingly if you brought it up from a deep depth. Don’t put fingers in mouth, grab behind head or underneath. Don’t grab by gills – grab underneath on the belly. Try not to damage the fish – don’t recommend grabbing by eyes. If harvesting, gaff larger ones around head. Meat very sought after so don’t gaff there.