Family: MEGALOPIDAE, Tarpon, Tarpons
plate between lower jaws
Tarpons are medium to large fishes (to 2.4 m) with the body oblong but elongate, strongly compressed, silvery; head short, deep, profile straight above, convex below; eye large; mouth large, oblique, opening above, lower jaw projecting; an elongate bony plate between lower jaws; teeth small, simple, on jaws, roof of mouth, tongue and lower base of gill arches; fins without spines; one dorsal fin, 13-21 rays, last filamentous; anal fin base much larger than dorsal fin base; pelvic fins on abdomen; tail fin large, deeply forked; lateral line complete, tubes with branches radiating over surface of lateral line scales; scales very large, smooth.
A circumtropical family with one genus and two species. A single pan- Atlantic species occurs in the Greater Caribbean.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER SMITH (2002)