Skip to main content

See also:

Tarpon Fish

Tarpon Fish
Tarpon Fish
National Geographic

There are two species of Tarpon Fish belonging to the Megalops family. The first species can be found in the Atlantic and the other is found in the Indo Pacific Oceans. These are very large fish, with a large mouth with lower jaws projecting out giving them what looks like a large overbite. They have a very dark blue or greenish colored dorsal fin and their bodies blend into a bright silver color of the sides, because most of their bodies are covered with large silver scales. Both species of Tarpon Fish can be found in both salt and freshwater areas because of their swim bladders they can survive in brackish water. During the first larvae stage these creatures are normally found close to the surface in relatively clear and warm ocean waters. In the second two stages of the larva period they are found in some creeks and rivers as well as title pools and salt marshes. During the juvenile stage Tarpon Fish are normally found moving to the rivers into freshwater, and upon reaching adulthood they find their way into the open waters of the ocean. Some Tarpon's do remain in freshwater habitats which is why they can be found in both fresh and saltwater areas. An adult Tarpon can grow to 8 feet in length and weigh up to 280 pounds.

For breeding purposes Tarpon Fish go offshore to isolated areas. Spawning begins in late spring or early summer months and the females can lay up to 12 million eggs at one time. For feeding purposes while in the first stage nutrients are absorbed into their bodies from the seawater, during the second and third stages the larvae feed on insects and small fish and zooplankton. Juveniles live off of insects, crabs, small shrimp and fish and as they mature into adults they become strictly carnivorous swallowing their food whole. Tarpon's are nocturnal feeders under most circumstances.
For stage one and stage II their main predators are other fish and birds. They are easy prey for birds because when they do swim up for air they do so in a rolling mode allowing your silver scale lining to give them away. Adult Tarpon's are often preyed upon by porpoises, alligators, sharks, crocodiles, and large birds.

One unique feature of the Tarpon Fish is the swim bladder because it functions as a conductor for their respiratory system. These fish cannot survive without fresh air and if they are unable to surface they will die. Even though these fish do not rate high commercially as a food source they are however prized by fishermen for the sport because of their great size, their ability to shoot up out of the water, and the fight they are able to provide make them to challenge most fishermen are looking for. Most of these fish are released after they are caught because they are very bony and the meat undesirable. Many tournaments are held to catch Tarpon year round. Tarpon Fish like their water temperature to between 70 to 82°F. They become inactive if the water gets below 60°F and it becomes lethal for them at 40°F and below.