Fish Facts » Snook
Common snook have a slender body and a distinct lateral line. The dorsal fins are high and divided and the anal spines are relatively short. The common snook has a sloping forehead with a large mouth and a protruding lower jaw. Adult common snook can grow to over 47.24 inches (120 cm) in total length , which is larger than any other species in this family. Coloration of the common snook is golden yellow with a distinct black lateral line and pale yellow pelvic fins.
Juvenile common snook are generally restricted to the protection of riverine and estuary environments. These environments offer shallow water and an overhanging vegetative shoreline. Juvenile common snook can survive in waters with lower oxygen levels than adults. Adult common snook inhabit many environments including mangrove forests, beaches, river mouths, nearshore reefs, salt marshes and sea grass meadows. Adult common snook appear to be less sensitive to cold water temperatures than larvae or small juveniles. The lower lethal limit of water temperature is 48.2°-57.2° F (9°-14° C) for juveniles and 42.8°-53.6° F (6°-12° C) for adults.
Larval and small common snook eat mainly copepods and microcrustaceans. As common snook grow larger they eat fish, shrimp, crabs and zooplankton. This change in food habits occurs at around 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) standard length and continues throughout adulthood.
Common snook is a hugely popular recreational fish in the Gulf Coast due to its fighting ability and culinary value. The commercial harvest of common snook is prohibited throughout Texas and Florida (USA).
Common snook on the Atlantic coast of Florida commonly grow to larger sizes than common snook on the gulf coast of Florida. The largest observed sizes for females on the Atlantic and gulf coasts are 43.5 inches and 40.6 inches (110.5 and 103.2 cm) respectively. The world record for a common snook caught on hook and line is a 53-pound 10-ounce (24.28 kg) in Parismina Ranch, Costa Rica.
Common snook are the most widely distributed species within the Centropomus genus and have been reported as far north as New York (USA) and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Common snook are abundant along the Atlantic coast of Florida from Cape Canaveral south through the Keys and Dry Tortugas, and north to Cedar Key on the gulf coast. Common snook occur infrequently along the coast of Texas to Galveston and then more or less continuously south to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Florida Museum of Natural History
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