Tripletail, Lobotes surinamensis Click to enlarge image
A Tripletail caught on hook and line at a depth of about 0.5 m, near Palm beach, St Georges Basin, New South Wales, 24 March 2013. The fish was swimming under the weed that was floating on the surface (water depth 6 m). Image: Jim Barrie
© Jim Barrie

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    surinamensis
    Genus
    Lobotes
    Family
    Lobotidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The Triple-tail grows to 1 m in length and up to 15 kg.

Introduction

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.



Identification

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.

Habitat

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.

Distribution

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.



References

  1. 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.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.