As its common name suggests, the Tripletail could appear to have a three-lobed tail. This results from the rounded dorsal and anal fins that are posteriorly-positioned.
The Tripletail has distinctively rounded soft dorsal and anal fins. This characteristic gave rise to the standard name. The species has small scales extending onto the dorsal, caudal and anal fins and a head profile which becomes more concave with age.
The leaf-like juveniles are mottled with yellow, brown and black, whereas large adults are jet black.
The Tripletail is the only member of the family Lobotidae.
Adults are usually found in coastal waters, estuaries and occassionally even in the lower reaches of freshwater streams. Juveniles often float long distances on algal mats.
The species occurs in all tropical and subtropical seas.
In Australia it is known from tropical and subtropical marine waters.
The fish in the image is probably the most southern record of this species on the New South Wales coast .
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.