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Triple tail Fish

October 15, 2021

Triple tail Fish

Lobotes surinamensis belongs to the family Lobotidae is commonly known as tripletail fish. The other common names are blackfish, buoy fish, black grunt, black perch, and conchy leaf. Tripletail lifespan is about 7 to 10 years


The name comes from the fact that the fish might appear to have three tails as the large and rounded soft dorsal fin and anal fin extend far back on the body and closely resemble the tail in color and shape.

Appearance:

The tripletail has a distinctive appearance.

Body Shape:

The body is flat and shaped like an overly large almond. The body is laterally compressed and deep.

 

Body Color:

The body colour of the tripletail may change at different stages of the fish cycle.

  • Juveniles are mottled with yellow, brown, and black.
  • Adults have drab, mottled and spotted colour patterns in shades of black, brown, and grey.

Mouth:

The triangular head has a large diagonal mouth. The tripletail fish changes its head shape as it ages. The top of the head becomes more pronounced as the fish ages.

Eyes:

The eyes are small and mounted far forward on the head.

Size and Weight:

Females are somewhat larger than males, and typically tripletail reaches a length of more than three feet.

The fish mostly weigh more than 40 pounds.

Fins:

The three caudal dorsal and anal fins are almond round and resemble the three tails. 

Habitat:

Tripletail, being lazy, are fond of drifting, especially beneath floating material, boats, and buoys and present adjacent to posts and pilings, usually in the shadows.

Tripletail are present in most tropical and subtropical seas and distributed throughout the world, such as Japan, Fiji, and Tuvalu. The tripletail is usually solitary but can be found in schools as well.

Feeding:

Tripletail fish is an opportunistic eater. The fish float sideways to fool prey into coming near before striking. Their food includes, 

  • Shrimp
  • Squid
  • Blue crabs
  • Red crabs
  • Atlantic bumper
  • Anchovies
  • Glass minnows
  • Gulf menhaden

Distribution:

In the United States, triple tail fish are distributed across Massachusetts south along the Atlantic coast and throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

On the Gulf coast, tripletail are present in water less than 20 feet deep. However, the adult tripletail may be present in deeper waters.

Life Cycle:

The tripletail life cycle is comprised of three main stages,

  • Spawning
  • Larval and Juvenile stage
  • Adult stage

Spawning:

In the Northern Gulf, the primary spawning season is from June through August, and females spawn once every three to five days during the spawning season.

A tripletail female produces 4.5 to 8 million eggs in a season. July is the peak season, and mainly spawning occurs in offshore deeper waters. 

Larval and Juvenile Stage:

Larval fish are rare in coastal waters, and juvenile fish are associated with shaded structures and are mostly present in floating patches of Sargassum or other types of drift algae.

0.35-0.37 inches transition mainly occurs from larval to the juvenile stage.

Adult Stage:

The study shows that males mature earlier; half of the males reach maturity at only 10.6 inches, while 50% of female tripletail are sexually mature at a total length of 17.6 inches.

Behaviors:

  • Tripletail change their body color from nearly solid black to yellow to silvery grey to match their surroundings.
  • The fins help them to float sideways, imitating a leaf or a plastic bag.

  • Tripletail are well camouflaged that fool the prey and ambush the prey and move quickly. Their quick movements are also the reason that they are vigorous when hooked.
  • Another adaptation to predation in the epipelagic zone, tripletail grows fastest in its first year.

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