The largest of all the snapper and a member of the Lutjanidae family, the cubera is a hard-fighting gamefish, as well as a fine food fish in smaller sizes.
Other NamesCuban snapper; Spanish: cubera, guasinuco, pargo cabalo, pargo cubera.
IdentificationThe head, the body, and the fins of the cubera snapper are silver or steely gray to dark brown, with an occasional reddish tinge; the body is darker above than
below, sometimes with a purplish sheen.
Most young fish and some adults have irregular pale bands on their upper bodies. The cubera snapper has dark red eyes, thick lips, and a rounded anal fin. It also has connected dorsal fins that consist of 10 spines and 14 rays and pectoral fins that do not extend as far as the start of the anal fin.
The cubera snapper is often confused with the gray or "mangrove" snapper, although they can be differentiated by the number of gill rakers present on the lower limb of the first branchial arch; there are an average of seven to nine gill rakers on the gray snapper, in contrast to five to seven on the cubera snapper.
They can also be distinguished by the tooth patch on the roofs of their mouths; the gray snapper has an anchor-shaped patch, whereas the cubera snapper has a triangular one that does not extend back as the anchor-shaped one does. In general, the canine teeth of the cubera snapper are enlarged and noticeable even when the mouth is closed.
SizeAlthough the cubera snapper commonly weighs up to 40 pounds, it can weigh more than 100 pounds and reach lengths of 4 or more feet. The all-tackle world record
is a 121-pound, 8-ounce Louisiana fish.