Oxeye Herring, Megalops cyprinoides (Broussonet 1782)


Other Names: Bony Mullet, Indo-Pacific Tarpon, Ox-eye Herring, Tarpon

Oxeye Herring, Megalops cyprinoides. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial

Summary:

A large silvery fish with a bluish-green back, a very large mouth with a protruding lower jaw, a deeply forked tail, large scales and an elongate last dorsal-fin ray. The large eye is covered with adipose tissue and there is a conspicuous axillary scale at the base of each pectoral and pelvic fin.

Oxeye Herring (aka Tarpon) in the Finniss River, Northern Territory.

Video - Bull Shark predation on Tarpon

Fly fishing for Oxeye Herring (Tarpon) in North Queensland.


Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2019, Megalops cyprinoides in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 Mar 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1991

Oxeye Herring, Megalops cyprinoides (Broussonet 1782)

More Info


Distribution

About Port Hedland, Western Australia, around the tropical north to the Tuross River, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species is widespread in tropical waters of the Red Sea and Indo-West Pacific. 

Adults inhabit marine and estuarine waters, while juveniles and small adults may be found in well-upstream in the freshwater reaches of tropical rivers or coastal lakes, in clear or turbid water.

Features

Dorsal fin 16-21; Pectoral fin 15-16; Anal fin 22-31; Plvic fin 10-11; Lateral line scales 36-42; Gill rakers 15-17 + 30-35; Branchiostegal rays 26-27.

Body moderately deep, compressed, deepest in middle before tapering at both ends; eye large, covered with adipose tissue. Mouth large, jaws extending to posterior margin of eye, lower jaw projecting beyond snout; a gular plate present between arms of lower jaw. Teeth small, granular;  gill rakers long and slender; modified swim bladder lies against the skull. Scales large. Fins lack spines; dorsal fin situated in middle of body, directly over ventral fins, last ray elongate and filamentous; pectoral fins low on side of body near ventral fin margin; pelvic fins abdominal; pectoral and pelvic fin bases with a conspicuous axillary scale; anal fin insertion behind dorsal fin; caudal fin deeply forked.

Size

To around 150cm, commonly to 50cm.

Colour

Ranges from bluish-green to olive-green above, silvery on sides and belly; fins are greenish to yellowish.

Feeding

Adults are carnivores, and feed on a variety of crustaceans, insects and fishes, often feeding beneath floating aquatic vegetation. Juveniles feed on plankton.

Biology

Oviparous, pelagic spawning peaks during the summer wet season in near-shore marine and estuarine areas. Produce numerous small, non-buoyant, non-adhesive eggs. The leptocephalus larvae are flat, band-like, transparent and similar to those of true eels, although unlike eels, Oxeye Herring leptocephali have forked tails. Larvae drift into shallow coastal waters and estuaries where they develop to maturity and it is during this period when young fish may venture into coastal streams. Larvae develop teeth early in life at around 11mm TL.

Fisheries

An excellent sports fish renowned for its fighting ability, especially when taken on light lines. However, the species is considered to be poor eating in Australia, especially because it has very bony flesh. Oxeye Herring are caught in subsistence fisheries throughout their range.

Conservation


Remarks

The Oxeye Herring has a modified swim bladder allowing it to gulp air from the surface to supplement its oxygen supply in low oxygen environments. They can also tolerate a wide pH range (5.2-9.1).

Species Citation

Clupea cyprinoids Broussonet 1782, Ichthyologia Sistens Piscium Descriptions et Icones: 39, Pl. 9. Type locality: Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Author

Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2019

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Oxeye Herring, Megalops cyprinoides (Broussonet 1782)

References


Adams, A., Guindon, K., Horodysky, A., MacDonald, T., McBride, R., Shenker, J., Ward, R. & Sparks, J.S. 2016. Megalops cyprinoides. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T166868A46642796. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T166868A46642796.en. Downloaded on 08 February 2019.

Allen, G.R. 1982. Inland Fishes of Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 86 pp. 6 figs 20 pls.

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Broussonet P.M.A. 1782. Ichthyologia Sistens Piscium Descriptions et Icones. London : Elmsly 42 pp.

Castelnau, F.L. de 1878. Australian fishes, new or little known species. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 2(3): 225-248 pls 1-2

Chen, H.L. & Tzeng, W.N. 2006. Daily growth increment formation in otoliths of Pacific tarpon Megalops cyprinoides during metamorphosis. Marine Ecology Progress Series 312: 255-263.

Coates, D. 1987. Observations on the biology of tarpon, Megalops cyprinoides (Broussonet) (Pisces: Megalopidae), in the Sepik River, northern Papua New Guinea. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38(4): 529-535.

Davis, T.L.O. 1988. Temporal changes in the fish fauna entering a tidal swamp in tropical Australia. Environmental Biology of Fishes 21: 161-172.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & P.J. Kailola, 1984 Trawled fishes of southern Indonesia and northwestern Australia. Australian Development Assistance Bureau, Australia, Directorate General of Fishes, Indonesia, and German Agency for Technical Cooperation, Federal Republic of Germany. 407 pp.

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Kulkarni, C.V. 1983. Longevity of fish Megalops cyprinoides. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 80: 230-232.

Larson, H.K. & Martin, K.C. 1990. Freshwater Fishes of the Northern Territory. Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences Handbook Series Number 1. Darwin : Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences 102 pp. 73 figs.

Ley, J.A. 2005. Linking fish assemblages and attributes of mangrove estuaries in tropical Australia: criteria for regional marine reserves. Marine Ecology Progress Series 305: 41-57.  

Ley, J.A. 2008. Indo-Pacific Tarpon Megalops cyprinoides: A Review and Ecological Assessment, pp. 3-36 in Ault, J.S. (ed.) Biology and Management of the World Tarpon and Bonefish Fisheries.  CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management. Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp. figs 280 col. figs

Padmaja, G. & Rao, L.M. 2001. Breeding biology of Megalops cyprinoides from Visakhapatnam coast. Journal of Environmental Biology 22: 91-99.

Pusey, B.J., Kennard, M.J. & Arthington, A.H. 2004. Freshwater Fishes of North-eastern Australia. Collingwood, Victoria : CSIRO Publishing 684 pp.

Pusey, B.J., Kennard, M.J. & J. Bird, J. 2000. Fishes of the dune fields of Cape Flattery, northern Queensland and other dune systems in north-eastern Australia. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 11(1): 65-74.

Richardson, J. 1843. Contributions to the ichthyology of Australia. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 1 11(73): 489-498

Smith, D.G. 1999. Families Elopidae, Megalopidae. pp. 1619-1622. In Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068..

Smith, M.M., 1986 Megalopidae. p. 155-156. In M.M. Smith & P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. MacMillan, South Africa.

Tran, H., R.S. Mehta & P.C. Wainwright. 2010. The effects of ram speed on juvenile tarpon feeding kinematics. Zoology 113: 75-84. 

Tsukamoto, Y. & Okiyama, M. 1993. Growth during the early life history of the Pacific tarpon, Megalops cyprinoides. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 39: 379-386.  

Tsukamoto, Y. & Okiyama, M. 1997. Metamorphosis of the Pacific tarpon, Megalops cyprinoides (Elopiformes, Megalopidae) with remarks on the development patterns in the Elopomorpha. Bulletin of Marine Science 60: 23-36.

Tzeng, W.N., Wu, C.E. & Wang, Y.T. 1998. Age of Pacific tarpon, Megalops cyprinoides, at estuarine arrival and growth during metamorphosis. Zoological Studies 37: 177-183.

Wade, R.A. 1962. The biology of the tarpon, Megalops atlanticus, and the ox-eye, Megalops cyprinoides, with emphasis on larval development. Bulletin of Marine Science of the Gulf and Caribbean 12: 545-622.

Walden, D. & Pidgeon, B. 1998. Freshwater fishes of Kakadu National Park. Supervising Scientist, Canberra. 44 pp.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37054001

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Feeding:0-50 m

Fishing:Popular sports fish

Habitat:Freshwater to coastal marine

Max Size:152 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map