What You Don’t Know About Tarpon
Here are a few facts about Megalops atlanticus, the tarpon species found on the western Atlantic coast from Virginia to Brazil, throughout the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and in the Caribbean.
1) Fossil research shows that tarpon have been swimming in our oceans since prehistoric times.
2) Tarpon can grow up to 8 feet and weigh up to 280 pounds.
3) Tarpon are primarily found in coastal waters or estuaries, but also have the ability to live in brackish water and can occasionally be found in freshwater lakes and rivers.
4) Tarpon can survive in waters of varying pH, as well as habitats with low dissolved oxygen content due to their swim bladders which they use primarily to breathe.
5) Tarpon are only fished on a recreational basis in the state of Florida. Tarpon anglers practice catch and release since the fish is not considered to be of food value.
6) Tarpon thrive in water temperatures of 72 to 82°F; below 60 degrees they become inactive, and temperatures under 40°F are lethal.
7) The life span of a tarpon can exceed 50 years. The oldest tarpon on record in captivity was 63 years old.