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Species: Selene setapinnis, Atlantic Moonfish

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body moderately deep (depth at D2 origin 46-52% SL)
forehead profile: concave before eyes, top round
D & A lobes not/slightly elongate
gill rakers 36-42
juv: black spot over straight part LL

Selene setapinnis (Mitchill, 1815)

Atlantic Moonfish

Body short, very deep in adults, depth at 2nd dorsal origin 46-52% of fork length, extremely compressed; lower profile more convex than upper profile; head profile very steep, rounded at top and concave before eyes; snout blunt, lower jaw protruding; gill rakers 36-42; dorsal fin VIII (1st 4 spines elongate in juveniles, with 2nd spine ~= body depth) + I, 21-23, front lobe only slightly elevated; anal fin II (in juveniles only) + I, 17-19; pelvic fins very small; no finlets after 2nd dorsal and anal fins; pectoral long, curved; tail base slender; tail strongly forked; straight part of lateral line with poorly developed, small scutes (hard spiny scales); scales very small, imbedded in skin, body appears scaleless.

Silvery; tip of lower jaw black; a faint dark spot on edge of operculum, a narrow black area along top of tail base; small juveniles with an oval black spot over straight part of lateral line.

Reaches 46.5 cm.

Marine, demersal, on the continental shelf, brackish and marine waters.

Depth range: 1-110 m.

Nova Scotia to Argentina.

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  • Brackish
  • 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
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Continental primarily
  • 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
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 46.5
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 110