Megalops cyprinoides (Broussonet, 1782)
Indo-Pacific tarpon
Abulong,  Buan buan,  Buan-buan,  Bulan-bulan,  Bulgan,  Buobuan,  Buyan-buyan,  Hutik,  Indo-Pacific tarpon,  Mulan-bulan,  Buan-buan,  Bulan bulan,  Bulan-bulan,  Buwan-buwan,  Mulan-bulan,  Salongsong,  Silag,  Tarpon,  Tewal
Megalops cyprinoides
photo by Ramani Shirantha

Family:  Megalopidae (Tarpons)
Max. size:  150 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 18 kg; max. reported age: 44 years
Environment:  benthopelagic; freshwater; brackish; marine; depth range - 50 m, amphidromous
Distribution:  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).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 16-21; Anal spines: 0-0; 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:  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).
IUCN Red List Status: Data deficient (DD); Date assessed: 29 June 2016 Ref. (126983)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:  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.

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