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Updated: 06/12/2008  

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Elopiformes  -  Megalopidae  -  Megalops  -  Megalops atlanticus

Megalops atlanticus

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elongate, oblong, compressed

 D: last ray = long filament

mouth oblique, opens up

lower jaw projects
pelvics before D
scales very large


Megalops atlanticus Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1847

Atlantic tarpon

Body oblong but elongate, strongly compressed; head short, deep, profile straight above, convex below; eye large; mouth large, oblique, opening above, lower jaw projecting; a long bony plate between lower jaws; teeth small, simple, on jaws, roof of mouth, tongue and lower base of gill arches; one dorsal fin, 13-16 rays,  last filamentous; anal fin base much larger than dorsal fin base; pelvic fins on abdomen; tail fin large, deeply forked; lateral line complete, tubes with branches radiating over surface of lateral line scales; scales very large, smooth; 41-48 on lateral line.

Bright silver, back greyish, fins grey.

        Size: 250 cm; 128.5 kg.

        Habitat: estuaries, occasionally around reefs; enters freshwater.

        Depth: 0-30 m.

Western Atlantic; presumably arrived in the eastern Pacific by passing through the Panama Canal; may now be established in the Gulf of Panama; not infrequently available at Panama City fishmarket.

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