Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Albula vulpes, Bonefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

mouth not reaching under eye
D & A: no filament
rays under throat 13-14
pectoral 17-20
scales below LL 6-7
LL 68-77

Albula vulpes (Linnaeus, 1758)


Body elongate, fusiform; overhanging snout moderately conical, projects a little beyond mouth; mouth small, not reaching under eye; very small teeth in bands at front of jaws, patches of small molariform teeth on the roof and floor of the mouth; gill rakers 7-11 + 11-13 (18-23); branchiostegal rays of membrane under throat 13-14 (10-14); fins without spines; one short-based dorsal fin, at midbody, 18-19 rays; anal short (8-9 rays), well behind dorsal; dorsal and anal fins without a filamentous ray; pectoral fins low on the body, 17-20; pelvic fins on the abdomen, under the dorsal fin, well behind pectorals, 9-11; tail fin deeply forked; lateral line scales 68-77; scales above lateral line 8-10, below lateral line 6-7, around tail base 15-16, before dorsal fin 14-24; lateral line straight, full length of body.

Silvery bluish to greenish above, bright silver below; tip of snout with an oval dark spot on middle of underside, a pair of diagonal dark marks at tip. Juveniles sandy colored, with 7-8 indistinct dark saddles on back.

Reaches 77 cm.

Lives on soft bottoms inshore, mainly marine, but also mangrove lagoons and estuaries, and uncommonly in freshwater.

Depth range: 0-84 m.

Distribution: N Carolina (occasionally to New Brunswick) south throughout the Greater Caribbean, also in Brazil.

Note: very similar in form to A goreensis and A cf. vulpes, but all three are genetically distinct

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Near Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Water column
  • Beach
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Near threatened
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 77
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 84