T is for Tarpon

Tarpon have a long, stout body that is a very shiny, reflective silver. Their characteristic mouth is upturned and the top fin extends into a long filament. Generally they grow to 2-4 feet, rarely exceeding 8 feet and weigh 40-50 pounds. Tarpon grow slowly, taking 7-13 years to mature. Uniquely, they can live in water with a broad range of salinity and they can breathe air at the surface.

Tarpon live mostly along the reef and coastal areas. They prefer to stay in secluded areas, flats and canyons and can be territorial long¬term. Schools during the daytime are quite common.

Tarpon feed mostly at night on fish and large crustaceans. They are roving predators, slashing through schools of fish nabbing prey.

Tarpon spawn between May and September offshore in deeper waters than they live in. The female lays more than 12 million eggs. The ribbon-like larval stage of tarpon can be observed in the deep, offshore waters.

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