Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Peprilus paru, Harvestfish, Harvestfish Butterfish

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body depth 57-88% SL
no spots
no large pores under front D
D & A: front long & curved
D lobe long
A lobe short
top teeth single point
pectoral pale

Peprilus paru (Linnaeus, 1758)

Harvestfish, Harvestfish Butterfish

Body highly compressed, an elongate oval, depth 57-88% SL; eye with a fatty ring around it; snout short, mouth small, oblique, ends before or under front of eye; jaw teeth compressed, top teeth 1 point, in 1 row, no teeth on roof of mouth; dorsal and anal fins long based, with II-IV small, flattened, leaf-like spines, front lobes long and curved; dorsal fin lobe relatively long (length > 83% of length of lower caudal lobe); anal fin lobe relatively short; no pelvic fins, but a small spine projecting from pelvis; pectoral fins long and pointed; tail fin deeply forked, stiff; scales very small, smooth, very easily shed; dorsal and anal fins covered with scales lateral line high, follows upper body profile, almost complete; no series of large pores along front half of body under dorsal fin.

Pale blue to green above; silvery with golden tint below; pectorals translucent; body without spots.

Size: grows to 30 cm.

Habitat: pelagic, forms large schools in inshore waters and bays.

Depth: 0-136 m.

Chesapeake Bay to the Caribbean.

Note: The sister species of P. paru is P. xanthurus. The northern limits of the distribution of the latter and the southern limits of the distribution of the former, and the extent to which their ranges overlap along northern S America, are not known.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Sand & gravel
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Pelagic jellyfish/ctenophores
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 N + S of GC
  • Extends North 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
  • 30
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 136