.' -: W,?-^
SALT WATER FISH
Sof FLORIDA and the
By VLADIMIR WALTERS
M k NINA WILLIAMS
Tarpon (9) Leaping
T HIS BOOKLET is a guide to the more common or interesting salt water
fish found from Cape Hatteras to the Mexican border. Some are sought
by big game fishermen, some by commercial fishermen, some by people fish-
ing from rowboats, piers, bridges or beaches. To see many kinds, however,
one must take a trip in a glass-bottomed boat or visit an aquarium.
The salt waters in our area have a varied fish distribution. Some species
are found only on the Atlantic coast, others only on the Gulf; but many
occur in all waters. Truly tropical fish are found only near the Florida Keys.
In deep water we find some fish that occur in shallower water further north.
Fish are cold-blooded, aquatic vertebrates, that is they have backbones.
They breathe by means of gills. Most have scales. Their fins are supported'by
fin rays (soft) or spines (hard). Most lay eggs. Some bear living young.
The gravest threat to our salt water fishes is the dumping of untreated
industrial wastes and sewage into rivers and the sea. Many fish cannot tolerate
polluted waters and leave the area or die. Pollution must be eliminated. A
good sportsman aids conservation by observing the legal limits and keeping
only as many fish as he can comfortably use. The rest he releases at once;
he is not a "fish hog".
Arrangement of Book
The number after the name in the illustrations refers to the number or
page of that species in the text. Numbers in parentheses preceded by "NA"
(i.e. North Atlantic) refer to the number of the fish in the companion book-
let "Salt Water Fish of the Atlantic Coast from Hatteras North" by the
same authors. The species are arranged by family groups in their presumed
evolutionary order, the simplest first, the most complicated last. Scientific
names are in italics. Many other species of fish also occur in this area; to
read about them consult the books mentioned on page 22.
Copyright 1954, Caribou Press, Bronxville, N. Y.
Sharks and Rays
Most are harmless; in our area possibility of shark attack is remote.
Sharks are the largest fish known. The harmless Whale Shark, Rhincodon
typus (p. 7) grows to 45 ft., probably to 60 ft. or more. The Man-eater
Shark, Carcharodon carcharias (p. 6) grows to 361/2 ft., perhaps more. Both
are rarely seen close to shore in our area.
Sand Shark (p. 23) occurs along our Atlantic coast, straggling to Gulf
coast of Florida. Smooth Dogfish (NA 2) may be in deep water off Florida
east coast. Spiny Dogfish (NA 3) strays to s. Florida.
1. Nurse Shark. Ginglymostoma cirratum. p. 4
Used for leather. Eats small animals. Harmless, sluggish, common in
shallows between mangrove keys. Boys grab the pectoral fins and ride the
shark through the shallows. Gives birth to living young. All year s. Florida,
in summer further n., once from Rhode Island.
Long barbel in front of each nostril; deep groove between nostril and
mouth; to 14 ft.
2. Common Hammerhead Shark. Sphyrna zygaena. p. 4
Used for leather, fertilizer, oil. Fine sport fish, but it and some relatives
are known as man-eaters. Eats mostly fish. Probably gives birth to living
young. Common throughout our area, straggling to N. S. Head hammer-
shaped; leading edge of head not indented in middle; to 13 ft.
3. Bonnet-head Shark. Sphyrna tiburo. p. 5
Harmless; common in our area, n. to Mass. Head shovel-shaped; to 6 ft.
4. Great Hammerhead Shark. Sphyrna tudes. not illus.
S. Fla. n. to N. C.; to 15 ft. Other hammerheads also occur in our waters.
5. Sawfish. Pristis pectinatus. p. 4
Used for leather. The saw is a dangerous weapon; give this fish a wide
berth. Bears living young. Young born with a cap over the saw, which is soon
shed. Common throughout our area, n. to N. Y. Snout long, with 25 to 28
pairs of teeth; to 20 ft.
6. Sting Ray, Stingaree. Dasyatis sabina. p. 4
Usually lies partly buried in shallow water. Tail has one or more sharp,
barbed spines. If stepped upon the fish lashes the tail and the spines may
inflict deep, painful wounds. Some sting rays have a poison gland with the
Bones sI Striped Anchovy (12) d
j l ting Ray (6)
I Tponr 191
spine. Common throughout our area,
n. to Chesapeake Bay.
Tail less than twice as long as
body; body longer than broad; snout ,
pointed; body length to 20 in.
7. Great Manta, Devilfish,
Devil Ray. Manta birostris. p. 4 Head of Bonnet-head Shark (3)
Ordinarily harmless but dangerous when frightened. Can crush a small
boat with a blow from its wings. Usually seen "flying" through the water near
the surface. Sometimes leaps; when it hits the water the noise is like a
cannon shot. Eats small animals. Gives birth to one giant young at a time.
Fairly common in warm waters, straggling n. to R. I.
A pair of "horns" in front; tail as long as body; mouth at end of head;
to 22 ft. across the wings, the largest ray known.
8. Small Devilfish. Mobula hypostomna. not illus.
Warm water n. to N. Y. Much smaller; tail much longer than body;
mouth on underside; horns kept curled up except when feeding.
The larger kinds are important as game fish. Menhaden (p. 23),
throughout our area, important commercial fish used for oil, meal, animal
food. Common Anchovy (p. 23) throughout our area, anal rays 25-26.
9. Tarpon, Silverfish. Tarpon atlanticus. pp. 2, 4
Very important game fish, particularly on the Gulf coast. Rarely eaten,
though edible. Makes prodigious leaps when hooked, but free tarpon also
leap. Enters freshened water. Throughout our area, straggling to N. S.
Large bony plate on throat; last dorsal ray very long; to over 8 ft.
10. Tenpounder, Ladyfish, Bigeye Herring. Elops saurus. not illus.
Game fish, leaps when hooked; warm water, straggling n. to Mass.
Large bony plate on throat; last dorsal ray not lengthened; to 3 ft.
I I. Bonefish, Ladyfish. Albula vulpes. p. 4
Famous game fish. Darts off like greased lightening when hooked. Shal-
low, warm water, straggling to Mass. Snout and mouth pig-like; to 31 in.
12. Striped Anchovy. Anchoviella hepsetus. p. 4
Abundant, schools, shallow water. Food for larger fish. Warm water, n.
to Cape Cod. Anal rays 20; silvery stripe prominent, as broad as eye; to 6 in.
Most are deep sea fish, except the Lizard Fish and its relatives.
13. Lizard Fish. Synodus foetens. p. 9
Eats other fish; sandy bottom. Warm waters, straying n. to Cape Cod.
Yellow lines on body, no orange spots; to 12 in.
M 'n eater Shark 1p. 31
14. Gaff-topsail Catfish. Bagre marina. p. 9
Commercial food fish. In shallow water in spring and summer. The male
carries in his mouth the very large eggs and then the young until they are big
enough to take care of themselves. Throughout our asea, straggling to N. Y.
Two barbels on lower jaw; caudal fin deeply forked; to 2 ft.
15. Sea Catfish. Galeichthys felis. not illus.
Some used for food; breeding habits as last; throughout our area. Four
barbels on lower jaw, caudal fin deeply forked; to 17 in.
Body snake-like, no pelvic fins; gill opening small. In our area we find
the American Eel (p. 23) in fresh and salt water, and the Conger Eel (NA
12) in deep water. In addition:
16. Green Moray. Gymnothorax funebris. p. 9
Edible, but a fish that is better left alone. Many fishermen cut the line
rather than let a live moray into the boat, and if one does get in by accident
the fishermen jump overboard. The jaws are powerful, the teeth are sharp
and the fish's temper is very short. Usually lurking near coral, rocks, wharfs,
with only the head protruding, waiting for some unsuspecting creature to
pass. As with the American Eel the very young are thin, flattened, transparent.
Pectoral fins absent; gill opening a round pore; dorsal fin begins in
front of gill opening; posterior nostril without tube; teeth not sawtooth-edged;
color variable, but no spots or bands, jaws not white, no black edge to dorsal
fin; to 6 ft.
Flying Fish Tribe
17. Houndfish. Tylosurus ra/phidomus. p. 9
Small packs near surface. Thrusts itself out of the water and sometimes
spears someone. Voracious, preys on small fish. Common in Florida.
Upper and lower jaws long; body about -3 as wide as it is deep; tail
stem with keel on each side; no distinct side stripe; beak less than twice as
long as rest of head; to 5 ft.
18. Balao. Ballyhoo. Hemirhamphis brasiliensis. p. 10
Sailfish bait; Florida, straggling n. to Mass. Lower jaw very long, upper
jaw very short; upper lobe of caudal fin reddish; to 15 in.
19. Atlantic Flying Fish. Cypselurus heterurus. COVER
Edible; bait for Dolphin and other game fish. Schools. Does not fly but
glides on outstretched fins (four wings); takeoff is upwind; the strong lower
lobe of the caudal fin is used in taxiing. The young, differently colored than
adults, are called "Butterfly Flying Fish" (p. 10). Common in warm seas.
In flight shows 4 wings; pectorals grayish with faint pale streak across
entire fin; dorsal fin does not show a dark spot; to 15 in.
20. Cornet Fish. Fistularia tabacaria. p. 9
Little is known about this species. Warm waters, straggling n. to Mass.
Snout tubular; caudal fin has long filament; to 6 ft., without filament.
2 1. Trumpet Fish. Aulostomus maculatus. p. 11
S. Florida. Snout tubular, about 10 free spines on back, no caudal fin
filament; to 15 in.
22. Seahorse. Hippocampus (several species). p. 11
Male carries the eggs and young in a pouch on his belly. Throughout
area. Body covered by bony plates; tail prehensile; head perpendicular to body.
23. Pipefish. Syngnathus (several species). p. 11
Male carries the eggs and young in a pouch on his belly. Throughout our
area. Body covered by bony plates; tail not prehensile; head parallel to body.
Common school fish. Often used as bait. Striped Killifish (p. 23) e.
Florida coast. Somewhat similar Mummichog (NA 23) throughout our area.
24. Sheepshead Minnow. Cyprinodon variegatus. p. 9
A good aquarium fish (takes to freshwater) but pugnacious during the
breeding season. Abundant, shallow water. Male brilliantly colored at spawn-
ing time and protects the breeding area. Throughout our area, n. to Cape Cod.
Body deep and with blue-black vertical bars; to 3 in.
25. Carp Minnow. Cyprinodon carpio. not illus.
Swarms in s. Fla. Shape similar to last but almost white in color.
Whale Shark (p. 3)
26. Squirrel Fish. Holocentrus ascensionis. p. 9
Reef food fish. Eats fish, crustaceans. Keeps in shadows by day, comes
into open at night; Florida. Eye large, iris yellow; third anal spine huge; cau-
dal fin deeply forked; pelvic fins reach vent; to 2 ft.
In our area are Northern Barracuda (NA 24), small and harmless;
Striped Mullet (NA 26), abundant school fish of high commercial food value
with dark stripes on sides; Common Silverside (p. 23) and the similar,
smaller Tide-water Silverside (NA 29), both bait fish in schools.
27. Great Barracuda. Sphyraena barracuda, p. 9
Game fish; the "Tiger of the Sea". Edible but spoils quickly, giving rise
to the belief it is poisonous. A menace to bathers; many "shark" attacks are
the work of this fish. Sometimes the adults school. Found wherever other fish
gather. Very common in warm seas, straggling n. to Mass.
Pectoral fin reaches beyond beginning of first dorsal and pelvic fins;
usually 3 to 5 ft., up to 10 ft.
28. White Mullet. Mugil curema. p. 9
Abundant school fish of great commercial food value. Taken with nets.
Likes to jump. Eats small animals and plant matter in the mud. Warm seas,
n. to Cape Cod. No dark stripes on sides; more than 35 scales from gill
opening to base of caudal fin; to 3 ft., but usually under 1 ft.
29. Fantail Mullet. Mugil trichodon. not illus.
Common in s. Florida. No dark stripes; about 30 scales; to 1 ft.
30. Snook. Sergeantfish. Centropomus undecimalis. p. 9
Delicious game fish. Eats fish and crustaceans. Enters fresh water. Gulf
coast and Florida. Lower jaw projects; lateral line black, extending to end
of caudal fin; to 4 ft. 7 in. *
Important food and sport fishes; in our area, Striped Bass (p. 23), im-
portant game fish of the Atlantic coast s. to Florida, Sea Bass (p. 23) and
close relatives; also:
31. Red Grouper. Epinephelus morio. pp. 12-13
Important game and commercial food fish. Solitary. Eats almost any-
thing. Shallow waters to about 300 ft. deep. Atlantic coast, straggling n. to
Mass. Eleven dorsal fin spines, the second and third the longest; caudal fin
not rounded; dark spots around eyes; to 3 ft.
32. Nassau Grouper. Epinephelus striatus. not illus.
Food and game fish. Atlantic coast n. to N. C. Dark spots around eye,
caudal fin rounded, second dorsal spine much shorter than third; to 3 ft.
LUzrd Fish (13)
Sheepshead Minnow (24)
Snook 130) -
SSquirrel Fish (2b)
utterfly Flyingfish (19)
33. Speckled Hind. Epinephelus drummond-hayi. pp. 12-13
Important food fish. Gulf and Atlantic coasts, n. to S. C. Body, head,
fins covered with many pearly white spots; to 30 lbs.
34. Red Hind. Epinephelus guttatus. not illus.
Food fish; Atlantic coast, straggling n. to Mass. Body, head, fins orange-
brown spots; dorsal, caudal and anal fins black-edged; to 18 in.
35. Rock Hind. Epinephelus adscensionis. not illus.
Food fish; Atlantic coast, straggling n. to Mass. Body, head, fins orange
or red-spotted; dorsal, caudal and anal fins not black-edged; to 20 in.
36. Spotted Jewfish. Promicrops itaiara. pp. 12-13
Poor game but good food. Sluggish, shallow water, east coast of Fla.
Eyes far apart, space between depressed; 11 short dorsal spines; to 700 lbs.
37. Black Jewfish. Garrupa nigrita. not illus.
In water to 500 ft. deep; both Florida coasts. Head flat on top, second
and third dorsal spines higher than others; to 6 ft. and about 500 lbs.
38. Stone Bass, Wreckfish. Polyprion americanus. not illus.
Very deep water, about 2100 ft., but young swim near surface. Strong
bony ridge on gill cover, tongue with teeth, none of jaw teeth movable; to
71/2 ft. and 600 lbs.
39. Glassy-eyed Snapper. Priacanthus cruentatus. pp. 12-13
Fine food fish. Not a true snapper. Hides in crevices, comes out at night.
Huge eyes glow like coals. Florida, young straggling to Cape Cod. Rough
scales on head; pelvic fins in front of pectorals; to 15 in.
Bluefish (p. 23) Atlantic coast s. to Florida in winter. Game.
40. Cobia. Rachycentron canadus. pp. 12-13
Food and game fish. Eats fish and crabs. Lives near the bottom. Young
have a rounded caudal fin and use the pectoral fins for swimming; in larger
fish the pectorals do not move and are held out from the body. From above
presents a shark-like appearance. Warm seas, straggling n. to Mass.
Head depressed; about 9 free short spines on back; note coloring; to 6 ft.
A great many kinds in warm waters. Most have a hard keel on the rear
part of the lateral line. Many are highly prized game and food fishes.
Amberjack (p. 23) is found in our area; also:
41. Lookdown, Moonfish. Argyreiosus vomer. pp. 12-13
Excellent food fish. The young have thread-like fins. Often swims head
down searching for food, hence the name. Atlantic coast of Florida, straying
n. to Me. Body pancake-like; very high forehead; lobes of dorsal and anal fins
very long; no bony plates on lateral line; to 20 in.
42. Common Pompano. Trachinotus carolinus. pp. 12-13
Valuable sport and commercial fish, an epicure's delight. Eats fish and
other small animals. Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Fla., straggling n. to Mass.
There are several pompanos; all are pancake-like, the dorsal and anal
fins have long tips, and the lateral line has no bony plates. This one has 25
dorsal rays and 22 anal rays; the others have fewer; to 18 in.
43. Gaff-topsail Pompano. Trachinotus palometa. not illus.
Throughout our area. Sides with vertical black bars; to 12 in,.
44. Round Pompano. Trachinotus falcatus. not illus.
Throughout area. Depth of body more than half length of body; to 18 in.
45. Permit. Trachinotus goodei. not illus.
Depth of body less than half its length; less common; to 31/2 ft.
46. Pilot Fish. Naucrates ductor. pp. 12-13
Often follows ships and big fish; offshore; warm seas, n. to Me.
Prominent fleshy keel on tail stem; 3 or 4 very low spines in dorsal fin;
anal fin shorter than soft dorsal; no bony plates on lateral line; 6 dark bands
on body, last few running onto dorsal and anal fins; to 2 ft.
47. Banded Rudderfish. Seriola zonata. not illus.
Edible; same habits as last, also found near drifting debris but comes
closer to shore; throughout our area, n. to Cape Cod. Similar to last but 6-8
dorsal spines, body deeper, and bands disappear in large fish; to 3 ft.
48. Dolphin, Dorado. Coryphaena hippurus. COVER
Game fish. Very palatable. A swift predator of the open sea; youngsters
drift in close to shore. Flying fish are its main bill of fare. Attracted to
drifting objects, lurks in their shade. A boated fish undergoes color changes.
Black Drum (60)
French Angel (64)
Lookdown (41) l
Speckled Hind (33)
Spotted Jewfish (36)
Red Grouper (3 1)
Gray Snapper (50)
Grass Porgy (62)
Pilot Fish (46'
Seldom strays beyond the blue water of the Gulf Stream, n. to Cape Cod.
Dorsal fin begins on head; body flattened from side to side; male has a
very high, knife-like forehead and caudal fin with long lobes; to 6 ft.
49. Small Dolphin. Coryphaena equisetis. not illus.
Less common. Pectoral fins about half as long as head instead of almost
as long; to 30 in.
Anal fin with 3 spines; gill cover without spines; teeth on tongue and
in roof of mouth. Many species, most are valued for food.
50. Gray, Mangrove or Red Snapper. Lutjanus griseus. pp. 12-13
Good food fish. Common, shallow water. Texas and Atlantic coast stray-
ing n. to Cape Cod. Anchor-shaped patch of teeth in roof of mouth; anal fin
rounded; no spot on side; color grayish with reddish hues; to 20 lbs.
51. Mutton Snapper. Lutjanus analis. not illus.
Food fish; Atlantic coast straying n. to Mass. Crescent-shaped patch of
teeth in roof of mouth; iris of eye red; round black spot usually on side of
body; deep water fish are red; to 35 lbs. Other red snappers include:
52. Blackfin Snapper. Lutjanus buccanella. not illus.
Deep water. Black spot at base of pectoral, average about 4 lbs.
53. Longfin Red Snapper. Lutjanus vivanus. not illus.
Deep water. Iris yellow; to 9 lbs., reputed to reach 40 lbs.
54. Red Snapper. Lutjanus aya. not illus.
Deep water. Iris scarlet with black bar near upper edge of eye; to 40 lbs.
55. Vermilion Snapper. Rhomboplites aurorubens. not illus.
Deep water. Diamond-shaped tooth patch; iris vermilion; about 1 lb.
56. Yellowtail. Ocyurus chrysurus. pp. 12-13
Very common, handsome, sport and food fish. S. Florida. Caudal fin
deeply forked, lobes long; usually a yellow stripe on body; to 2 ft.
So-called because the soft dorsal, caudal and anal fins give the appear-
ance of three tails.
57. Triple-tail. Lobotes surinamensis. pp. 12-13
Edible. Often swims on its side. The young mimic floating mangrove
leaves. Throughout our area, straying n. to Cape Cod. Body deep, flattened;
no teeth in roof of mouth; 3 anal spines; to 3 ft.
Many sport and food fish belong here.
58. White Grunt. Haemulon plumieri. pp. 12-13
Common food fish. Schools. Feeds at night on worms, etc. Atlantic coast,
n. to N. C. Four rows of scales between lateral line and beginning of dorsal
fin; yellow lines on blue head; lining of mouth red; to 18 in.
Most make a croaking noise with the swim bladder; avoid rocks. Anal
fin with 1 or 2 spines; lateral line runs to end of caudal fin. Included here
are Channel Bass or Redfish (p. 23), important game fish of Gulf and At-
lantic coasts, Northern Kingfish (NA 41), sport fish, Florida to Mass.; Spot
(NA 40) Southern Kingfish or Sea Mink (p. 23), and Croaker (p. 23),
all important food fish of Gulf and Atlantic coasts; also:
59. Sea Trout, Spotted Weakfish. Cynoscion nebulosus. pp. 12-13
Commercial food and sport fish. Eats fish. Scarce on Gulf, common on
Atlantic. Large black spots; no scales on soft dorsal and anal fins; to 3 ft.
60. Black Drum. Pogonias cromis. pp. 12-13
Commercial food fish. Makes loud drumming sound; eats shellfish.
Gulf and Atlantic coasts, n. to Cape Cod. Numerous barbels on lower jaw;
scales large, separated; to 146 lbs.
61. Ribbonfish. Eques lanceolatus. pp. 12-13
A strikingly patterned fish of Fla. waters. First dorsal fin short and
high; caudal fin rounded; body tapered aft; note stripe pattern; less than 12 in.
Deep-bodied, many of commercial value for food. When hooked, ter-
rific fighters. Sheepshead (p. 23) food fish of Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
62. Grass Porgy. Calamus arctifrons. pp. 12-13
Commercial food and sport fish. In eel grass in shallow water. Common
Gulf Coast. Front teeth pointed; 45-53 scales along lateral line; 6 yellow
spots along lateral line; fins dark-spotted; to 12 in.
63. Spotted Goatfish. Upeneus maculatus. pp. 12-13
Roots about on the bottom for crustaceans; Florida east coast. Goatfishes
"- Hogfish (68)
have 2 long chin barbels and 2 dorsal fins. This one has a spine on the gill
cover and often shows 3 black blotches on the side of the body; to 10 in.
64. French Angel. Pomacanthus paru. pp. 12-13
Beautiful, stately fish of the coral reefs; s. Florida. Pectoral fin base
yellow; in adult, scales black and ringed by gold; to 12 in.
65. Black Angel. Pomacanthus arcuatus. not illus.
S. Florida, straggling to N. Y. Similar to last when adult, but pectoral
base not yellow and scales not gold-edged; to 2 ft.
Several other kinds of angels occur in Florida waters.
66. Beau-Gregory. Pomacentrus (several species). pp. 12-13
Sprightly; abundant. Several species occur in Florida. To 6 in.
67. Sergeant-Major. Abudefduf saxatilis. pp. 12-13
Abundant; Florida straying to R. I. Yellow and black banding; to 6 in.
68. Hogfish. Lachnolaimus maximus. p. 16
Commercial food and sport fish. Southern Atlantic coast, straying n. to
N. C. First 3 or 4 dorsal spines very long; caudal fin deeply crescent; to 3 ft.
69. Rainbow Parrotfish. Pseudoscarus guacamaia. p. 16
Used for food; common. Teeth fused into a parrot-like beak; s. Fla.
Teeth and jaws blue or greenish, not white or pink; body not purple-blue or
blackish; largest parrotfish in our waters; to over 3 ft.
70. Southern Stargazer. Astroscopus y-graecum. not illus.
Similar to Electric Stargazer (NA 48); Atlantic coast n. to Cape Hat-
teras. Shallow water, buried in sand; fish over 6 in. give electric shock. Eyes
on top of head, head flat on top, mouth almost vertical; to 15 in.
71. Pearl Fish. Carapus bermudensis. p. 16
Spends daylight hours in rear end of a sea cucumber, comes out at night
to feed. Several may be inside one sea cucumber. Sometimes hides in oysters;
s. Florida. Dorsal and anal fins continuous around tail; anal fin begins on
chest; no pelvic fins, no barbels; to 5 in.
Handle carefully because there are two sharp spines on the tail stem
which can be raised like jack-knives and can give deep cuts. Doctorfish (NA
54), common southern Atlantic coast, straying n. to Cape Cod.
Spanish Mackerel (77)
72. Blue Tang. Acanthurus coeruleus. p. 16
Edible. Eats plants. Florida, straying n. to Cape Cod. No vertical bars;
body with horizontal blue or purple lines; base of caudal fin blue; to 10 in.
Swift, streamlined predators, usually in schools. Bonito (p. 23), False
Albacore (NA 59), Bluefin Tuna (p. 23), Swordfish (NA 63) and White
Marlin (p. 23; dorsal and anal fins with rounded tips) are found along the
entire Atlantic coast; also:
73. Oceanic Bonito. Katsuwonus pelamis. p. 16
Game fish. Small schools. Eats flying fish. Atlantic coast, n. to Cape Cod.
No teeth in roof of mouth; scales absent from body except near pectoral
fins; 4 stripes below lateral line, no dark marks on back; to 3 ft.
74. Albacore. Thunnus germo. p. 16
Valuable food and game fish. Meat white. Schools. Atlantic coast, stray-
ing n. to Mass. Teeth in ioof of mouth; pectoral fins reach past beginning of
anal fin; second dorsal and anal fins not very high, to 66 lbs.
75. Yellowfin Tuna. Thunnus albacorus. p. 16
Game fish with plenty of fight. Schools. Southern Atlantic coast, straying
n. to Md. Teeth in roof of mouth; pectoral fins reach beginning of anal fin;
second dorsal and anal fins very high (see last); to 450 lbs.
76. Kingfish. Scomberomorus cavalla. p. 16
Game and commercial fish; largest of the "Spanish" mackerels; schools.
Southern Atlantic coast, straying n. to Mass. Teeth triangular, knife-like, not
sawtooth-edged as in Wahoo (below); no swimbladder; strong arch in
lateral line; no black in first dorsal fin; to 100 lbs.
77. Spanish Mackerel. Scomberomorus maculatus. p. 18
Important commercial food and game fish; schools; southern Atlantic
coast, straying n. to Mass. Swimbladder present, gentle arch in lateral line,
black in first dorsal fin, pectoral fins without scales; to 35 lbs.
78. Cero, Painted Mackerel. Scomberomorus regalis. p. 19
Excellent food and game fish; schools; southern Atlantic coast, straying
n. to Mass. Gentle arch in lateral line, black in first dorsal fin, pectoral fins
with scales; to 35 lbs., averaging larger than the preceding.
79. Wahoo. Acanthocybium solandri. p. 15
Outstanding game fish; solitary; se. Florida. Teeth triangular, knifelike,
sawtooth-edged; vertical dark bars on sides in life; to 133 lbs.
80. Escolar, Tapioca Fish. Ruvettus pretiosus. p. 14
Rare game fish of very deep water; solitary; Atlantic coast n. to Grand
Banks. No keel on tail stem, skin studded with bony plates; to 100 lbs.
81. Blue Marlin. Makaira ampla. p. 16
Famed game fish. Atlantic coast. Upper jaw a sword; 2 keels on tail
stem; pelvic fins shorter than pectoral fins; lateral line not visible on surface
of skin; dorsal and anal fins sharp-tipped; to 1200 lbs.
82. Sailfish. Istiophorus americanus. p. 16
Game fish; small schools. Sail erect when jumping, folded when swim-
ming. Babies up to 2 in. have no sword or scales; Texas and southern At-
lantic coast, straying n. to Mass. Upper jaw a sword; 2 keels on tail stem;
pelvic fins longer than pectorals; dorsal fin sail-like; to 123 lbs.
83. Lionfish. Scorpaena grandicornis. p. 21
Lies quiet on the bottom. Painful to step on one barefoot. Atlantic coast.
Spines on head, first dorsal and three in anal fin, second longer than third;
squarish pit on top of head; pectoral fins do not reach anal; to 8 in.
84. Flying Gurnard. Dactylopterus volitans. p. 21
Shallow water; can glide a short way on its pectoral fins. Walks on tips
of its pelvic fins. Southern Atlantic coast, straying n. to Mass.
Pectoral fins long, divided into 2 parts, the lowest 3 rays not fingerlike;
blue spots seen on pectoral fins when fins are spread; to 2 ft.
85. Southern Sea Robin. Prionotus tribulus. p. 22
Southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Pectoral undivided, 3 lowest rays
finger-like; body with vertical bands; no distinct groove across head behind
eyes; drags along on bottom with pectoral "fingers"; to 12 in.
Lay a flatfish down with the eyed side up and the shorter, anal fin toward
you. If mouth is to your left the fish is left-handed, and vice versa.
86. Southern Flounder. Paralichthys lethostigma. p. 21
Commercial food and sport fish. Shallow water, prefers sandy bottom.
A kind of halibut. Gulf and south Atlantic coasts, straying n. to N. Y. Left-
handed; 85-93 dorsal rays, 65-73 anal rays; usually under 2 ft.
87. Gulf Flounder. Paralichthys albigutta. not illus.
Gulf and Atlantic coasts, n. to Va. Resembles last but 70-80 dorsal rays,
54-61 anal rays; usually under 15 in.
88. Hog Choker. Trinectes maculatus. p. 21
Although related to the Sole of Europe, this and other true soles of
North America are not caught for food. Gulf and Atlantic coasts, n. occa-
sionally to Mass. The restaurant "sole" is usually a flounder or fluke. Both
pectoral fins absent; upper jaw projects; right-handed; to 81/2 in.
89. Tonguefish. Symphurus plagiusa. p. 22
Gulf and Atlantic coasts, n. to Chesapeake Bay. No pectorals; left-
handed; tail pointed, dorsal, caudal and anal fins joined; under 8 in.
Shark Remora (NA 75), warm seas n. to Mass. Remoras (several
kinds) attach themselves to fish or turtles by means of a large sucking disc on
the head. Remoras leave their "hosts" to snatch at food and then return.
Triggerfish and Filefish
In triggerfish the first dorsal spine locks upright and cannot be laid
down unless one pushes the last spine first. Filefish lack this arrangement; but
the first spine is long, the second small. Orange Filefish (NA 76), Gulf
coast at Texas, and our Atlantic coast.
90. Queen Triggerfish. Balistes vetula. p. 21
Edible. Makes a grunting noise. Can give a nasty bite. Common in s.
Florida, straying n. to Mass. Blue lines on head; to 18 in.
91. Fringed Filefish. Monacanthus ciliatus. p. 21
Edible. Skin sometimes used for sandpaper. Often stays motionless,
head down. Atlantic coast, n. occasionally to Mass. Dorsal spine with small
barbs; spine on belly; tail stem with a few spines; to 8 in.
Body encased in rigid, bony armor. Youngsters look like animated peas.
Excellent eating when stuffed and then baked or roasted.
92. Cowfish. Acanthostracion quadricorne. p. 21
Sandy bottom; Florida, straying n. to Mass. Two forward-pointing spines
like cow horns identify this fish; to 10 in.
Can inflate with air or water. Teeth fused into a beak. Swellfishes have
a divided beak, porcupine fishes have the beak undivided. Many are delicious
eating but some become poisonous after death. Spiny Boxfish (NA 78), At-
lantic coast, n. occasionally to Cape Cod.
Triggq it- 1901
93. Porcupine Fish. Diodon hystrix. p. 21
Often inflated and dried for use as a lantern. Tropical, straggling n.
to Mass. Numerous needle-like spines; to 3 ft.
Toadfish (NA 79) Atlantic coast with close Gulf coast relatives.
Pugnacious, gives a mean bite. Usually under 12 in.
Peculiar fishes with a wrist-like joint in the pectoral fin, used for walk-
ing or climbing. Angler (NA 80) also in our area in deep water.
94. Sargassum Fish. Histrio gibba. p. 21
Inhabits floating patches of Gulf weed. Clambers about using its pec-
toral rays like fingers. Stalks and gulps down other fish, sometimes almost
as long as itself. Tropical waters, drifting n. to Mass.
Skin not prickly; first dorsal spine modified into a fishing "bait"; to 6 in.
95. Batfish. Ogcocephalus (several species). p. 21
Scampers, hops or jumps about on the bottom, using its fins as legs.
Lures fish with a fishing rod on its snout. Tropical. Mouth on underside;
body flattened; snout pointed; note body and fin shape; to 9 in.
Suggestions for our next edition of this booklet will be appreciated.
For more information about the fish of this area consult:
North American Game Fishes by Francesca LaMonte, Doubleday and Co. and
Field Book of Marine Fishes of the Atlantic Coast by C. M. Breder, Putnam's
Other Caribou Press publications include:
250 Birds of Massachusetts 350 Fish, Game and Nature Guide to
Birds of Montezuma and Tuzigoot the 1000 Islands (N. Y.)
The Unvanquished Buffalo 500 Salt Water Fish of Atlantic Coast
Seashore Wildlife, Sea Isle, N. J. America and the Buffalo (map)
Birds of Florida
The Caribou Press also publishes to order regional and local nature guides.
Caribou Press, Box 236, Bronxville, N. Y.
Tonquefisk, (891 Soufhern See Robin (8
S' 20 in.
Croaker (p. 15)
y AAmerican Eel (p. 6) 3V2 ft.
Sand Sh.rk (p.3) 10 ft.
Common Anchovy (p. 5) Sin. S
SSouhern K in.
southern Kingfish (p. 15) Chan
These are discussed more fully in the companion volume "Salt
Water Fish of the Atlantic Coast from Hatteras North". Above
sizes near maximum.