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Species: Lobotes pacificus, Pacific tripletail

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

oblong, deep
mottled brown
D & A: large round soft lobes of = 2 extra "tails"

Lobotes pacificus Gilbert in Jordan & Evermann, 1898


Pacific 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

Size: grows to 110 cm and at least 15 Kg.

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

Depth: 0-50 m.

Southern California to the Gulf of California to Peru, Cocos Is.

Note: Here we treat the eastern Pacific population as a separate species. However, the taxonomy of this group is in need of revision and the eastern Pacific population may in fact belong to a circumglobal species Lobotes surinamensis.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • In & Offshore
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Near Surface
  • Mid Water
  • Flotsam
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Bony fishes
  • Pelagic crustacea
  • Data
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • All species
  • 3 provinces (Cortez + Mexican + Panamic) endemic
  • Continent only
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 110
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 50