The Red snapper commonly inhabits waters from 30' up to 200', but can be caught as deep as 300' or more on occasion. They keep relatively close to the bottom, and inhabit rocky bottom, ledges, ridges, and artificial reefs, including offshore oil rigs and shipwrecks.
The red snapper's body is very similar in shape to other snappers, such as the mangrove snapper, mutton snapper, lane snapper, and dog snapper. All feature a sloped profile, medium-to-large scales, a spiny dorsal fin, a laterally compressed body, and a caudal tail. Red snappers have short, sharp, needle-like teeth, however they lack the prominent upper canine teeth found on the mutton, dog, and mangrove snappers.
Coloration on a red snapper is light red, with more intense pigment on the dorsal side. Juvenile fish can also have a dark spot on their side which fades with age.
Like most other snappers, red snappers are gregarious and will form large schools around wrecks and reefs. These schools are usually made up of fish of very similar size.
Red Snapper are a prized food fish and are caught commercially, as well as recreationally. Commercially, they are caught on multi-hook gear with electric reels, as gill netting has been banned in the Gulf of Mexico, where most of the commercial harvest comes from.
Red Snapper will eat almost anything, but prefer small fish and crustaceans. They can be caught on live bait as well as cut bait, and will also take artificial lures, but with less vigor. They are commonly caught up to 10 lbs and 2' in length, however there have been fish taken over 40 lbs.