Lutjanus analis is a deep-bodied and compressed snapper that may reach lengths of 30 - 77 cm (1 - 2.5 feet). It is common in inland and nearshore waters to approximately 6.8 kg (15 pounds). The dorsal fin is continuous with 9 - 11 (usually 10) slender dorsal spines, the fourth of which is the longest. The angulate soft dorsal fin has 13-14 rays. The caudal fin is deeply emarginate. The anal fin is pointed and has 3 spines, the second and third equal in length, and 8 anal rays.The pectoral fins are long, reaching past the anus.Scales are small and ctenoid, with 47-51 lateral lines scales. There are 12-13 gill rakers on the lower limb of the gill arch. The head profile is steep and straight to the tip of the snout. The eyes are small. The mouth is large and terminal, with the maxilla just reaching the front of the orbit. The upper and lower jaws, as well as the vomer have bands of villiform teeth. In addition, the upper jaw has 6 canine teeth, 4 of which are enlarged. The preopercule is coarsely serrated along its entire edge, and is shallowly notched at the angle. Body color is variable depending upon the activity of the fish. Adults are olive green dorsally, becoming paler laterally and ventrally. The ventral surface is reddish, as are all of the fins.The margin of the caudal fin is black. The snout bears an irregular blue line that reaches the posterior of the eye. A second blue line runs from the maxilla to the eye. A prominent black spot lies above the lateral line below the soft portion of the dorsal fin. When not active, the mutton snapper may evhibit a series of 10-12 dark vertical bars that run the length of the body.
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