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Species: Oligoplites palometa, Maracaibo Leatherjack

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lower jaw not expanded, weakly convex lower profile
lower gill rakers 11-14
upper front teeth: band of simple

Oligoplites palometa (Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1832)

Maracaibo Leatherjack

Elongate, very compressed; upper and lower head profiles similar, slightly convex; snout pointed; upper jaw 58-64% of head length, extends past eye; upper jaw with a band of small teeth, wider at front; lower jaw of adults with 2 rows of conical teeth; lower jaw not expanded, with weakly convex lower profile; gill rakers 23-26, lower rakers 11-14; dorsal rays IV free spines (rarely V)+I, 20-21; anal rays II+I, 19-20; posterior 11-15 dorsal and anal soft rays forming semi-detached finlets; pectoral short (< head length); tail base slender; tail strongly forked; lateral line slightly arched over pectoral fin, but mainly straight; scales needle shaped, partly buried; no scutes on lateral line.

Blue green above, orange below; tail fin yellow-orange, with narrow black rear edge; front lobe of 2nd dorsal black; pectorals yellow; anal white.

Size: grows to 50 cm.

Pelagic, mainly fresh and brackish water but also in muddy marine areas.

Depth: 0-45 m.

Guatemala to Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Sand & gravel
  • Water column
  • Beach
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mud
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 50
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 45