Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
The Atlantic spadefish (Chaetodipterus faber) is a species of marine fish belonging to the family Ephippidae. The Atlantic spadefish has a very deep, compressed, disk-shaped body and a blunt snout. The second dorsal and anal fins of adults have long, trailing anterior lobes, giving an "angelfish-like" appearance. The body is silver in color with irregular black vertical bands that fade gradually with age. There are 4-6 black vertical bands on each side, with the first running through the eye and the last running through the caudal peduncle. The mouth is small, with the maxilla of adults ending beneath the nostrils. The teeth are small and brushlike, and there are no teeth on the roof of the mouth. There are 9 dorsal spines and 21-24 soft dorsal rays, and there are 3 anal spines and 17-19 anal rays. The Atlantic spadefish has ctenoid scales covering the head and fins. Specimens commonly weigh from 3 to 10 pounds (1.4 to 4.5 kg), although individuals as large as 20 pounds (9 kg) have been recorded. Their maximum length is about 36 inches (91 cm).
The Atlantic spadefish inhabits marine and brackish waters typically in subtropical climates. They are commonly found in shallow waters along coastlines with depths of 3–35 meters. Juveniles commonly inhabit estuaries until maturity and adults prefer mangroves, beaches, and harbors.
Reproduction and Life Cycle
The Atlantic spadefish spawns from May to September and a female can release up to one million eggs per spawning season. The eggs hatch after 24 hours and the larvae feed on a yolk for two days before actively feeding.
The Atlantic spadefish is endemic to the western Atlantic Ocean. They are commonly found in shallow waters off the coast of the southeastern United States as far north as Massachusetts, the Gulf of Mexico, and in the Caribbean. They are also found in Bermuda and the eastern coast of Brazil.
Importance to Humans
The Atlantic spadefish is not of much commercial value. Due to their reputation as strong fighters, they are popular game fish, especially during the summer months when they are most active. The Atlantic spadefish has become a popular target species for sportfishermen due to their abundance and the strong fight they have for their size. They are good table fare, especially if smoked or grilled. A common method of catching involves using small pieces of clam on a small circle hook.
Etymology and Taxonomy
The Atlantic spadefish is known by numerous colloquial names, including angelfish, white angelfish, threetailed porgy, ocean cobbler, and moonfish. Their name is derived from the Greek word "chaite" meaning "chair" and "dipteros" meaning "with two fins." The Atlantic spadefish belongs to the genus Chaetodipterus, which includes two other species: the West African spadefish (Chaetodipterus lippei) and the Pacific spadefish (Chaetodipterus zonatus). The Chaetodipterus genus belongs to the Ephippidae family, which includes spadefish and batfish.
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