Student's deep dive into the lives (and mouths) of snapper

When people reported seeing different-looking snapper, a student researcher took a deep dive into the topic.

Georgia Third in the lab. Photo: NIWA/Stuart Mackay

In her masters project, Georgia Third found that snapper populations from different regions have different body shapes. Snapper off the West Coast look different to those off the East Coast. ⁣ ⁣

Snapper teeth. Photo: NIWA/Stuart Mackay

Georgia got up close and personal with snapper teeth and guts to see if the variations were related to diet.

She discovered some snapper have lots of small, sharp teeth adapted to eating soft-bodied prey like squid, while others have round, chunky teeth for chomping on hard-bodied prey like crabs.

Georgia is studying for a Master of Science at the Joint Graduate School in Coastal and Marine Science, a partnership between the University of Auckland and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

She's just handed in her thesis on the work featured in the video above.

Check out her science communication: @super_snapper on Twitter, @fishscience on TikTok, where her video on favourite sea creatures has attracted nearly 200,000 views, and @georgia_third on Instagram. She's also a science communicator for Nanogirl Labs Ltd. 

Snapper teeth. Photo: NIWA/Stuart Mackay

Media contact

Paul Panckhurst | media adviser
M: 022 032 8475