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Species: Lobotes surinamensis, Atlantic Tripletail

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

oblong, compressed
3 "tails" = C + large rear lobes of D & A
D XII, 15-16, no notch
preopercle strongly serrated

Lobotes surinamensis (Bloch, 1790)

Atlantic Tripletail

Body oval to oblong, compressed; forehead profile slightly concave; top jaw slightly protrusible, rear bone exposed when mouth closed; jaws with outer row of short, close-set canines and an inner band of smaller teeth; no teeth on roof of mouth; gill rakers 6-7 + 13-15; preopercle strongly serrated, the serrae decreasing in size and increasing in number with age; operculum with 2 flat, concealed spines; dorsal fin with XII strong spines, 15-16 soft rays, no notch between spiny and soft part; anal fin III, 11; soft dorsal and anal fins high, with rounded ends, reaching well past base of tail fin, giving appearance to symmetrical extra tails; pectorals shorter than pelvics; tail rounded, with 15 branched rays; scales moderate sized, rough, covering body and head except before and below eyes and jaws, bases of dorsal and anal fins scaled; lateral-line scales 43-45.

Dark brown or greenish yellow on back, silvery grey on sides; pectoral fins pale yellow; other fins dusky; juveniles generally dark brownish, but may be mottled or bright yellow.

Size: grows to 110 cm; IGFA 19.2 kg.

Occurs in bays and brackish estuaries, and often well out to sea, around floating objects; juveniles sometimes in floating Sargassum weed; they may lay on their side at the surface and mimic a drifting dark leaf.

Depth: 0-70 m.

Atlantic and W Pacific; New England to Argentina.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • In & Offshore
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Flotsam
  • Mangrove
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Atlantic + Pacific Oceans
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • 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
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 110
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 70