How Snapper Feed
One of the local angling club members, whom worked at the aquarium, explained that Snapper are easily the most aggressive species that are in the fish tank. Other species such as big rays and sharks get out of their way due to their aggressive nature.
The anatomy of the snapper’s feeding mechanism operates in two separate ways. Firstly, the jaws bite and crunch down, additionally, the gill plate extension creates an astonishingly solid suction, which is boosted even more by the membranes which bend inside the curvatures of the mouth.
As the mouth opens these membranes form a tubular jet or as the jaws lunge outward at a great expanse. It is this pressure device which allows an unattached morsel to be sucked up from the bottom. Now and then the mechanism is also assisted by the fish making a whirlpool, by circling a morsel at some top speed to help it lift from the bottom.
The snapper feeding mechanism seems to reject and inhale food. The food gets engulfed and the spat out again. Food that is more buoyant is separated from unwanted heavier particles, perhaps this is a way in which the fish is able to take a mussel, crush its shell, inhale the meaty treat then spit out the shell. It really is an unbelievable feat of earthy evolution.
This next piece of information is an absolute golden nugget, as it clarifies in simple terms why snapper will potentially hook them self, with next to no intervention of the fishermen:
When a snapper decides to engulf a tasty snack, it will almost always take the whole piece completely into its mouth, it will then take off at speed away from the rest of the school of fish, much like a seagull behaves when you throw a chip to a flock of birds.
Once the fish is away from the pack, it will use its predatory instinct to either decided to spit the food out and discard it entirely, or it will swallow it down.
Snapper will generally swallow bait fish such as pilchards, whiting, or whitebait whole and it is usually done head first. Wow head first, now there is a good tip. So if fishing for smaller snapper like pinkies, it is best to use the head of a pilchard rather than the tail. Having said that, many fish have fallen prey to the humble pillie tail. However, the old timers did tell me that they noticed their flathead catch rate increased when using pilchard tails. Larger pieces of food which the snapper cannot engulf entirely in the mouth in one sitting will encourage and completely altered behavioural pattern.
When a snapper takes a piece of bait that is too big for its mouth, the fish will go crazy; it will swim at top speed shaking its head side to side this behaviour is known to the old time anglers as “Rattlehead”. It is believed this shaking motion is done to break up or soften the piece of food, so that it becomes easier to eat or breaks down the food into smaller pieces.
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