Biology

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Commonly found on vegetated bottoms, occasionally over rocky bottoms and in mangrove areas. Enters brackish water and even freshwaters. Often forms large aggregations. Feeds mainly on small animals, especially crustaceans, but also takes mollusks, worms and occasionally small fishes that are associated with the grassy habitat. Depth range based on the depth at which this species was captured by trawls during a baitfish survey (Ref. 44885); to be replaced with a better reference.
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Importance

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fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; bait: usually; price category: very high; price reliability: very questionable: based on ex-vessel price for species in this family
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Lagodon

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Lagodon is a genus of saltwater fish in the family Sparidae, the breams and porgies. It is monotypic, being represented by the single species Lagodon rhomboides, commonly known as pinfish.[2] Other common names include pin perch, sand perch, and butterfish.[3] It inhabits mostly subtropical shallow coastal waters of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States and Mexico.[4]

Description

The pinfish is a small fish, growing only to about 4.5 in (11.4 cm). Both the male and the female have a silvery sheen with five to six vertical bars on the side. They have olive backs with yellow and white pigmentation and blue, green, and purple iridescence.[3] The anterior dorsal fin has 12 rigid, spiny rays capable of superficially puncturing human skin, giving the species its common name, pinfish.

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Photo of a live pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides

Range

The pinfish is found in Bermuda and along the United States coast from Massachusetts to Texas, and down along the Mexican Gulf Coast. It is also found along the northern Yucatán coast and near some northern Caribbean islands, but it is less common in the tropical portions of its range.[4]

Habitat

The adult pinfish prefers waters between 30 and 50 feet deep, while the juvenile is more common where there is some cover, such as seagrass beds, rocky bottoms, jetties, pilings, and mangroves. It prefers higher-salinity water. It rarely schools, but it associates with other individuals, especially where food items such as barnacles are abundant.[3]

Diet

Pinfish undergo ontogenetic changes in the morphology of their dentition and gut tracts which affect diet throughout their life history. Juvenile pinfish are carnivorous and primarily eat shrimp, fish eggs, insect larvae, polychaete worms, and amphipods. As pinfish become older and larger they become increasingly more herbivorous, with plant matter comprising>90% of the diet for pinfish greater than 100mm.[3]

Predators

The pinfish is prey for alligator gar, longnose gar, ladyfish, spotted sea trout, red drum, southern flounder, pelicans, grouper, cobia, snook and bottlenose dolphins.[3]

Reproduction

Sexual maturity is reached at about one year, when the fish is 80 to 100 mm in length. Spawning season is in the fall and winter. Eggs are broadcast in the water by the female, then fertilized by the male. The number of eggs varies from 7,000 to 90,000. They hatch after about 48 hours. Larvae are not protected by adults. The larval stage ends when the fish is about 12 mm in length, and the juvenile reaches maturity when it is about 80 mm. Because this species is eaten by many other animals, its life span is generally short.[3]

Commercial and recreational significance

The pinfish are not generally sought as sport or food in the United States due to its small size and numerous small bones. It is used as live bait by anglers targeting tarpon, red drum, spotted sea trout, and flounder. It is generally considered a nuisance bait-stealer.[3] The famous naturalist, Edward O. Wilson, lost the vision in his right eye at the age of seven, when he caught a pinfish and it flew up and struck him in the face.[5]

References

  1. ^ Russell, B.; Carpenter, K.E.; MacDonald, T.; Vega-Cendejas, M. (2014). "Lagodon rhomboides". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2014: e.T170250A1301642. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T170250A1301642.en. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  2. ^ Masterson, J. Lagodon rhomboides. Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce. National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides). Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
  4. ^ a b Froese, R. and D. Pauly, Eds. Lagodon rhomboides. FishBase. 2011.
  5. ^ Quammen, D. (2021) On the Accidental Career of E.O. Wilson
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Lagodon: Brief Summary

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Lagodon is a genus of saltwater fish in the family Sparidae, the breams and porgies. It is monotypic, being represented by the single species Lagodon rhomboides, commonly known as pinfish. Other common names include pin perch, sand perch, and butterfish. It inhabits mostly subtropical shallow coastal waters of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States and Mexico.

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Distribution

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Western Atlantic: Massachusetts (USA), Bermuda, and northern Gulf of Mexico to Florida Keys, USA and Yucatan, Mexico. Also in northern coast of Cuba; absent in Bahamas or rest of Antilles
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North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS) North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Habitat

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benthic
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North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS) North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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