Ocyurus chrysurus

Ocyurus chrysurus is a species belonging to the snappers family (Lutjanidae), which can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, from the coasts of Massachusetts to southeastern Brazil, including the entire Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. It inhabits coastal waters at depths of between 1 and 160 meters, although they are usually found at depths of less than 70 meters.

With an oval body, and relatively elongated, the largest specimens that we will frequently observe will be around 40 cm, although specimens up to 80 cm in total length have been documented. Ocyurus chrysurus has small conical teeth in both the upper and lower jaws, with some canine teeth present in the anterior part of the upper jaw. Its dorsal fin is unique, with no notch between the spiny region of 10 spines (rarely 9 or 11) and the region of 12-14 soft rays. The anal fin has 3 spines and 9 (rarely 8) soft rays. The last soft ray of both the dorsal and anal fins are not elongated as in other similar species within the snapper family. The pectoral fins consist of 15 to 16 rays (rarely 17), and the caudal fin is deeply forked and has long pointed lobes in adult specimens.

The body of Ocyurus chrysurus has a yellow horizontal stripe that runs from the snout, across the eye, to cover the anteriodorsal part of the caudal peduncle, and the entire posterior part of the caudal peduncle. The yellow color of this horizontal stripe continues, completely staining the entire caudal fin. Dorsally above the yellow stripe, the color of the body is silver, darker as we move more towards the back, and with yellow spots. Below the horizontal yellow stripe, the color of the belly is pinkish to white. The dorsal fin is yellow, and both the anal and pectoral fins are either transparent or have a light pale salmon color.

Ocyurus chrysurus feeds on both planktonic and benthic animals, including small fish, crustaceans, polychaetes and molluscs. Juveniles feed exclusively on zooplankton.

During the months of January to April, and later from August to October, the two reproductive peaks of Ocyurus chrysurus occur, although they can reproduce throughout the year. The longevity of this species of snapper has been estimated at 17 years.


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