• Snook: Fat Snook, Swordspine Snook, Tarpon Snook

Latin name

Centropomus parallelus, Centropomus ensiferus, Centropomus pectinatus

Other names

Fat Snook, Portuguese: robalo; Spanish: robalo chucumite. Tarpon Snook, Spanish: constantino, robalito, róbalos, robalos prieto.


The fat snook has a deeper body than other snook, although it is not severely compressed. Coloration varies depending on the area where the fish lives, it is often yellow-brown or green-brown on the back and silvery on the sides, and the lateral line is faintly outlined in black. The mouth reaches to or beyond the center of the eye, and its scales are the smallest. The pectoral fin has 15-16 rays, the anal fin has 6 soft rays, and 10-13 gill wings. The Swordspine snook is the smallest, named for its very long second anal spike, which usually extends to or beyond the area below the base of the tail. With a slightly concave profile, it is yellow-green or brown-green on the back and silver on the belly. It has a prominent lateral line outlined in black and the largest scales. It has 15-16 rays in the pectoral fin, 6 soft rays in the anal fin, and 13-16 gill wings. A distinctive feature of the tarpon snook is the presence of seven anal fin rays, while all others have six. It also has a characteristic upturned snout and a compressed, flat body. A prominent black lateral line runs through the tail. The pelvic fin is orange-yellow with a blackish edge, and the tips of the pelvic fins reach the anal opening. The pectoral fin has 14 rays, the anal fin has 7 soft rays, and 15 to 18 gill wings.


There are thought to be 12 species of snook, 6 of which are found in the western Atlantic Ocean and 6 in the eastern Pacific, but none of which are found in both oceans.


Snook lives in coastal waters of estuaries and lagoons, moving seasonally between fresh and salt water, but always staying close to shore and estuaries. Fat and swordspine snook prefer very low salinity or fresh water, while tarpon snook are most often found in shaded lakes with brackish water. Fat snook are more frequently found in inland waters than others, and all three species use mangrove shores as feeding sites.


The Fat snook rarely reaches more than 20 inches in length, although it can reach a length of 21⁄2 feet. Swordspine and tarpon snook usually do not exceed 1 pound in weight or 12 inches in length. World records for fat and tarpon are 9 pounds, 5 ounces, and 3 pounds, 2 ounces, respectively. The snook's lifespan is at least 7 years.

Life history and Behavior

No information

Food and feeding habits

These species feed on fish and crustaceans.


Snook usually become sexually mature by the third year of life.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Perciformes
Family Centropomidae
Conservation status No information
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years 7
Maximum body weight, kg 4.17
Maximum length, cm 50.8
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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Snook: Fat Snook, Swordspine Snook, Tarpon Snook

Tags: Snook: Fat Snook, Swordspine Snook, Tarpon Snook