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Species: Peprilus xanthurus, Dark-capped Harvestfish, Dark-capped Butterfish

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body depth 58-72% SL
forehead-nape dark
no large pores under front D
D & A: front long & curved
D lobe relatively short
A lobe relatively long
top teeth 1-3 points
pectoral dark

Peprilus xanthurus (Quoy & Gaimard, 1825)

Dark-capped Harvestfish, Dark-capped Butterfish

Body highly compressed, an elongate oval, depth in adults 58-72% SL; eye with a fatty ring around it; snout short, mouth small, oblique, ends before or under front of eye; jaw teeth compressed, teeth with 1-3 points on top jaw, 1 point on bottom jaw, in 1 row, no teeth on roof of mouth; gill rakers 2-6 + 13-16; dorsal and anal fins long based, with small, flattened, leaf-like spines, front lobes long and curved; dorsal fin III (III-IV), 39-47; anal fin III (II-III), 36-42; dorsal fin lobe relatively short (length =/< 83% of length of lower caudal lobe); anal fin lobe very long, strongly curved and pointed; no pelvic fins, but a small spine projecting from pelvis; pectoral fins long and pointed, 21 (20-23); 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; lateral line with 67-85 scales, some with pores.

Head and body grayish blue; forehead to front part of nape dark gray; dorsal, caudal and anal fins dusky yellow, with dark edges; pectorals mid-grey; body without spots.

Size: grows to 29 cm.

Habitat: pelagic, in estuarine and marine waters.

Depth range: 0-136 m.

Isla Margarita, NE Venezuela to Argentina; rare north of central Brazil.

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

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Water column only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • 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 only
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 29
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 136