Coloring Book

The Snapper Family

This small collection of drawings of fish from the Snapper Family marks the first installation of my fish coloring book.

I chose Yellowtail Snapper and Schoolmaster to start my fish coloring book project because I wanted to make this a collection of fish that my niece would be most likely to see when snorkeling (or fish that would be fun to color). I don’t think I’ve ever been out diving or snorkeling in the Keys without seeing a Yellowtail Snapper or a Schoolmaster. If I’m totally honest, I’m not entirely sure that the Dog Snapper fits this criteria. I included it anyway because I have found it helpful to be able to tell a dog snapper apart from a Schoolmaster when the schoolmaster isn’t displaying vertical line markings on its body.

You can read about this project in the previous post “A Fish Journal for a six-year-old” and you can see all the posts for this project using the tag “Fish Coloring Book“.

Fish in the Snapper Family are usually medium-sized and grow to between one to two feet. They have narrow bodies in an oblong shape with triangular heads. They all have a single long dorsal (top) fin that runs the length of their body. They like to hunt for food at night – mostly small crustaceans and smaller fish. 

Some of the Snappers hunt in groups around the roof, some hunt and live alone, and some live out in the open ocean in very deep water.  

Snappers tend to have light gray or silver bodies that can lighten or darken making it very difficult to identify some of them. 

Key Largo; Canyons at Molasses Reef – 12/24/2021. Photo by Chuck Lauer Vose.

However, the snapper you are most likely to see is the Yellowtail Snapper which is easy to identify because of their bright yellow strip along their body and tail. They also have a curious nature and are likely to swim close to you while snorkeling.

Dogfish Snapper; Belize; 02/21/2019. Photo by Erica or Chuck Lauer Vose.

Depending on the light and coloring of the individual, Dogfish Snappers can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from Schoolmaster Snappers. The key is to check whether they have a pale triangular patch under their eye – if you see that, you’re looking at a Dog Snapper!Dog Snappers also grow to be bigger than Schoolmasters – they can grow up to three feet long!