Fish ID >>Backcountry Inshore 

tarpon

Tarpon

Megalops atlanticus

Description: Last ray of dorsal fin extended into long filament; one dorsal fin; back dark blue to green or greenish black, shading into bright silver on the sides; may be brownish gold in estuarine waters; huge scales; mouth large and points upward.

Similar Species: Ladyfish (as juveniles), Elops saurus.

Where Found: Primarily inshore fish, although adult fish spawn offshore where the ribbon-like larval stage of the fish can be found.

Size: Most angler catches 40 to 150 pounds.

Remarks: Slow grower, matures at 7 to 13 years of age; spawning occurs between May and September; female may lay more than 12 million eggs; can tolerate wide range of salinity; juveniles commonly found in fresh water; can breathe air at the surfact; feeds mainly on fish and large crustaceans.

Illustration: © Diane Rome Peebles

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