tarpon

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tarpon

(tär`pŏn), common name for members of the family Megalopidae, or Elopidae, large game fish of the warm seas of the Western Hemisphere, ranging occasionally from Long Island to Brazil and to the west coast of Africa and entering freshwater streams freely. Their heavy, silvery scales, sometimes used as ornaments, give them the name silver king. Tarpons average 6 ft (183 cm) in length and 150 lb (67.5 kg) in weight, although some may be over 8 ft (244 cm) long and weigh more than 300 lb (135 kg). Active and predacious, they prey on schools of small fry. They are deep-sea game-fishing favorites, particularly Megalops atlanticus, found in the warmer parts of the Atlantic Ocean. Tarpons are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Elopiformes, family Megalopidae, or Elopidae.

tarpon

[′tär·pən]
(vertebrate zoology)
Megalops atlantica. A herringlike fish of the family Elopidae weighing up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms) and reaching a length of 8 feet (2.4 meters); it has a single soft, rayed dorsal fin, strong jaws, a bony plate under the mouth, numerous small teeth, and coarse, bony flesh covered with large scales.