Lookdown Selene vomer

Type of Animal:

Marine/brackish coastal waters, offshore waters, estuaries, marshes, bays, prefer saltwater over brackish water, juveniles more likely to be seen in brackish areas than adults

W Atlantic from Nova Scotia through Caribbean & S to Argentina

Silver-gray fish w/ scythe-like dorsal/anal fins, deep rhombus-shaped laterally-compressed body, eyes high, mouth set low, concave head, forked tail fins, fry/small juveniles have very elongated fin filaments from 2nd/3rd dorsal spines, older juveniles have light vertical stripes

Fish, worms, crustaceans

Status in Wild:

Not applicable

Found in schools of 10-1,000

Additional Info:

Young: Fry
Group: School
2-3 lbs

30 hours

Life Span:
20 years

Body Length:
1 ft

Very popular in public aquariums due to schooling behavior & appearance.
Silvery coloration comes from guanine pigments. Pigmentation can be manipulated to reflect light or dim light.
Spawning occurs in offshore areas w/ female releasing pelagic eggs into water column where males then fertilize them.
Fry develop in offshore areas then moving to shallower areas as they get older while adults can be found in shallows as well as deeper water of up to 174 ft.
Body shape allows them to be fast/agile in terms of pursuing prey/fleeing predators.
These fish make seasonal migrations.
Main predators are larger fish, marine mammals, & birds.
These fish are very docile.
Metallic color on face can be used to confuse predators.
Can be active any time of day.
These fish are highly adaptable.

Fun Fact(s):
Get name from facial appearance. Also called Moonfish as well & often confused w/ Atlantic Moonfish. Atlantic Moonfish deeper-bodied/thicker than Lookdown. In fact, Selene part of scientific name refers to Greek moon goddess Selene.
Besides moonfish, other names are horsehead, dollarfish, threadfin lookdown, Atlantic lookdown, & hair-finned dory.
When threatened/stressed, they’ll make loud grunts using teeth/swim bladder.
Some anglers use these fish as bait & many anglers target these fish themselves though they’re not nearly as popular as other saltwater fish.
These fish said to taste very good but are very hard to target making them not highly popular.
Due to highly flattened body, filleting them requires razor-sharp knife & extremely good fish-cleaning skills.

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