Tarpon: Megalops atlanticus, Family Megalopidae, Tarpons


  • Back is dark blue-green or greenish-black, becoming bright silver on the sides
  • One dorsal fin; last ray of dorsal fin extended into a long filament
  • Very large scales
  • Mouth large and points upward

Similar Species: As juveniles, tarpon resemble ladyfish, E. saurus 

Size: Up to 8 feet (300 pounds) 


Primarily inshore fish; adults spawn offshore.


Slow-growing, matures at 7 to 13 years of age. Spawn between May and September. Females may lay more than 12 million eggs. Develop into a ribbon-like larval stage.

Tolerate a wide range of salinity. Juveniles commonly found in freshwater.

Gulp air at the surface.

Feed on fish and large crustaceans.



Additional Information

Recreational Regulations

Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles

FWC Facts:
The turkey was wrongly named after what was thought to be its country of origin.

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