Common name: Tarpon
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: Hoese and Moore (1998); Manooch (1984); Robins and Ray (1986); Murdy et al. (1997).
Size: 2.4 meters
Native Range: Marine and estuarine. Virginia (occasionally Nova Scotia), Bermuda, and Gulf of Mexico to Brazil; also eastern Atlantic; occasional near Pacific terminus of Panama Canal (Robins and Ray 1986). Murdy et al. (1997) reported this species occasionally gets as far north as Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, as a result of seasonal movement via the Gulf Stream.
Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Megalops atlanticus are found here.
Table last updated 1/18/2021
† Populations may not be currently present.
Means of Introduction: A subset of the Tarpon used in cold tolerance studies were introduced into the Victor Braunig Reservoir in Texas following the experiment (Howells and Garrett 1992).
Status: Likely extirpated, as no tarpon have been reported since 1989 when at least one individual was found dead in Victor Braunig Reservoir after an extreme cold event (Howells and Garrett 1992). Some of the released tarpon may have survived in the Reservoir, but it is unlikely that they are capable of spawning in the freshwater impoundment (Howells and Garrett 1992).
Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.
References: (click for full references)
Hoese, H.D., and R.H. Moore. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Texas, Louisiana, and adjacent waters. 2nd edition. Texas A&M University Press. College Station, TX.
Howells, R.G., and G.P. Garrett. 1992. Status of some exotic sport fishes in Texas waters. Texas Journal of Science 44(3):317-324.
Manooch, C.S. 1984. Fisherman's guide, fishes of the southwestern United States. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC.
Murdy, E.O., R.S. Birdsong, and J.A. Musick. 1997. Fishes of Chesapeake Bay. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.
Robins, C. R., and G. C. Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic Coast fishes of North America. The Peterson Guide Series, volume 32. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.
Fuller, P., Neilson, M., and Procopio, J.
Revision Date: 3/3/2020
Peer Review Date: 1/31/2012
Fuller, P., Neilson, M., and Procopio, J., 2021, Megalops atlanticus Valenciennes in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1847: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=775, Revision Date: 3/3/2020, Peer Review Date: 1/31/2012, Access Date: 1/18/2021
This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.