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.
The tripletail has a distinctive appearance.
The body is flat and shaped like an overly large almond. The body is laterally compressed and deep.
The body colour of the tripletail may change at different stages of the fish cycle.
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.
The eyes are small and mounted far forward on the head.
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.
The three caudal dorsal and anal fins are almond round and resemble the three tails.
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.
Tripletail fish is an opportunistic eater. The fish float sideways to fool prey into coming near before striking. Their food includes,
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.
The tripletail life cycle is comprised of three main stages,
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 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.
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.