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Megalops cyprinoides (Broussonet, 1782)

Indo-Pacific tarpon
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Native range | All suitable habitat | Point map | Year 2100
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Megalops cyprinoides   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Megalops cyprinoides (Indo-Pacific tarpon)
Megalops cyprinoides
Picture by Ramani Shirantha

Philippines country information

Common names: Abulong, Buan buan, Buan-buan
Occurrence: native
Salinity: freshwater
Abundance: | Ref:
Importance: minor commercial | Ref:
Aquaculture: | Ref:
Regulations: | Ref:
Uses: gamefish: yes;
Comments: Specimens were collected in 1993 from Kiga and Calbiga-a creeks, Leyte (Ref. 7223). Found in Iwahig River, and creek near Pancol, Malampaya Sound, Palawan; Bais, Negros; Tarlac; Bulan, Sorsogon; Vigan, Ilocos Norte; Orani, Bataan; Rizal; Bulacan; Pampanga; Mindoro; Ragay Gulf (Ref. 280). Reported from Lake Bombon (=Taal), Batangas and Lake Naujan, Mindoro (Ref. 13446); Santiago River, Pagapas Bay, and Dumaca River, Luzon; Malaya River, Hinunangan Bay, Leyte; Talisay area in Lake Taal as part of gill net catch composition (Ref. 81207, 13446); Laguna de Bay in a 2005 assessment (Ref. 80824). Migrated into Lake Mainit via Tubay River, Mindanao (Ref. 4867, 13446). Found in milkfish pens/cages/ponds in Laguna de Bay (Ref. 13460). Not considered a good food fish (Ref. 2858). Collected from CLSU fish pond, Nueva Ecija as specimen for living fish museum (Ref. 81820). Also recorded as introduced to Paitan Lake, Tabuating River and Talavera River (Nueva Ecija) (Ref. 109918). Museum specimens collected in 1984 from various localities, LRS-84137 (Ref. 13460). Also Ref. 393, 9987, 12547, 12550.
National Checklist:
Country Information:
National Fisheries Authority:
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: Pauly, D., M. Small, R. Vore and M.L.D. Palomares, 1990
National Database:

Common names from other countries

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes(genus, species) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Teleostei (teleosts) > Elopiformes (Tarpons and tenpounders) > Megalopidae (Tarpons)
Etymology: Megalops: Greek, megas, megalos = great + Greek, ops = appearance (Ref. 45335).

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic; amphidromous; depth range 50 - ? m (Ref. 2847).   Tropical; 34°N - 37°S, 16°E - 130°W

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Indo-Pacific: Persian Gulf (Ref. 68964), Red Sea and Natal, South Africa (Ref. 3969) to the Society Islands, north to southern Korea, south to the Arafura Sea (Ref. 9819) and New South Wales. Restricted to high islands (Palau, Caroline and Mariana islands) in Micronesia. Reported as far inland as the lower Shire in Malawi and the Save-Runde junction in Zimbabwe (Ref. 7248). Widespread in the Lower Zambezi River channels up to Marromeu and in the Micelo River up to Malingapanzi (Ref. 39494). South China Sea, Taiwan Strait, and East China Sea(Ref.33302).

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 25 - ? cm
Max length : 150 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 1479); common length : 30.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7017); common length :45.5 cm SL (female); max. published weight: 18.0 kg (Ref. 13337); max. reported age: 44 years (Ref. 72487)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 16-21; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 23 - 31. Lower jaw projects beyond snout; a bony gular plate present between the jaw bones; last fin ray of dorsal long and filamentous, directly over pelvic fins; pectoral fins low on side of body near ventral margin; abdominal pelvic fins with 9 or more rays; scales large. The modified swimbladder permits them to breathe air and thus survive in oxygen-poor water. Colour blue-green dorsally; silvery on sides (Ref. 10982). Can tolerate oxygen-poor water by `breathing' air into a lung-like air bladder.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Obligate air-breathing (Ref. 126274); Adults are generally found at sea, but young inhabit river mouths, inner bays, and mangrove forests. In freshwater, they occur in rivers, lagoons, lakes, and swampy backwaters (Ref. 2847, 44894). Tolerate a wide pH range (5.2-9.1) (Ref. 44894) and salinities from 0 to 100. Mainly diurnal (Ref. 7017). Predaceous, feeding mainly on fishes and crustaceans (Ref. 5213). Breed offshore, possibly throughout the year. Larvae are transparent and resemble larval eels (Ref. 13337), but with a forked tail (Ref. 167). Juveniles commonly enter freshwater (Ref. 44894, 48635) in clear or turbid water (Ref. 44894). Known to breath air, rising regularly to the surface to do so. Cultured in ponds, the fry being sourced from the coasts (Ref. 7050). Popular angling fish (Ref. 3969). Edible but not esteemed (Ref. 3969). Caught by gill nets, seines, and trawls, and by hook-and-line; marketed fresh and dried salted (Ref. 10982).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Whitehead, P.J.P., 1984. Megalopidae. In W. Fischer and G. Bianchi (eds.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean fishing area 51. Vol. 3. [pag. var.]. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 3463)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)

  Data deficient (DD) ; Date assessed: 29 June 2016

CITES (Ref. 128078)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(Fisheries: production; publication : search) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Common names
Egg development
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
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Swim. type
Gill area


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Internet sources

Estimates based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 19.8 - 27.6, mean 24.4 (based on 501 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804):  PD50 = 1.0020   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00741 (0.00532 - 0.01033), b=3.07 (2.97 - 3.17), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic level (Ref. 69278):  3.5   ±0.1 se; based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Assuming tm<=4).
Prior r = 0.57, 95% CL = 0.37 - 0.85, Based on 2 stock assessments.
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Very high vulnerability (90 of 100).
Climate Vulnerability (Ref. 125649):  High to very high vulnerability (75 of 100).
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.