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Megalops atlanticus Valenciennes, 1847
TARPON
Atlantic tarpon

Life   Vertebrata   Fish   Megalopidae   Megalops

Megalops atlanticus
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Megalops atlanticus

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Overview
Main identification features Body elongate, compressed; mouth large, very oblique, opens above; wide gill openings; 1 dorsal fin, rearwards, with long filament at rear; tail large, deeply forked; pelvic fins on abdomen; scales very large, smooth, 41-48 on lateral line; lateral line complete, straight, pores with branched tubes; pelvic fin origin before dorsal fin; dorsal 13-16 rays.

Bright silver, back greyish, fins grey.

Size: 250 cm; 128.5 kg.

Habitat: estuaries, occasionally around reefs; enters freshwater.

Depth: 0-30 m.

Western Atlantic; presumably arrived in the eastern Pacific by passing through the Panama Canal; may now be established in the Gulf of Panama; not infrequently available at Panama City fishmarket.


Attributes
Abundance: Common.
Cites: Not listed.
Climate Zone: Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo).
Depth Range Max: 30 m.
Depth Range Min: 0 m.
Diet: bony fishes; mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs).
Eastern Pacific Range: Northern limit=9; Southern limit=8; Western limit=-81; Eastern limit=-79; Latitudinal range=1; Longitudinal range=2.
Egg Type: Pelagic; Pelagic larva.
Feeding Group: Carnivore.
FishBase Habitat: Pelagic.
Global Endemism: West Atlantic Introducee; TEP non-endemic; All species.
Habitat: Estuary; Water column; Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom); Freshwater.
Inshore Offshore: Inshore; Inshore Only.
IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed.
Length Max: 250 cm.
Regional Endemism: Continent only; Continent; Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic; Eastern Pacific non-endemic; All species.
Residency: Resident.
Salinity: Brackish; Freshwater; Marine.
Water Column Position: Mid Water; Near Bottom; Near Surface; Surface; Water column only;


Names
Scientific source:

Links to other sites

References
  • Castri-Aguirre, J.L., Espinoza-Pérez, H. and Schmitter-Soto, J.J., 2002., Lista sitemática, biogeográfica y ecológica de la ictiofauna estuarino lagunar y vicaria de México. En: Lozano-Vilano, M. L. (Ed.). Libro Jubilar en Honor al Dr. Salvador Contreras Balderas., Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León:117-142.
  • Castro-Aguirre, J.L., 1999., Ictiofauna estuarino-lagunar y vicaria de México., Editorial Limusa S.A. de C.V.: 1-629pp.
  • Cuvier , G. and Valenciennes, A., 1847., Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome dix-neuvieme. Suite du livre dix-neuvieme. Brochets ou Lucioides. Livre vingtieme. De quelques familles de Malacopterygiens, intermediaires entre les Brochets et les Clupes., Histoire Naturelle Des Poissons, 19:i-xix + 1-544 + 6pp.
  • Fowler, H.W., 1916., Cold-Blooded Vertebrates from Costa Rica and the Canal Zone., Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., 68:389-414.
  • McCosker , J. E. and Dawson, C. E., 1975., Biotic passage through the Panama Canal, with particular reference to fishes., Marine Biology, 30:343-351.
  • Meek , S.E. and Hildebrand, S.F., 1923., The marine fishes of Panama. Part I., Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Zool. Ser. Publ., XV:1-330.

Acknowledgements

I thank Ashley MacDonald and John Pickering, University of Georgia, for technical support in building this page.


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