Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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tarpon a name used for two closely related fish, Megalops atlanticus, and M. cyprinoides. The former is a large game fish of both sides of the central Atlantic (sometimes as far north as Nova Scotia on the American side); the latter is a relatively small fish, sometimes called small/ox-eye/Indian/Pacific tarpon, of the Indo-Pacific.

Young tarpon have the unattractive habit of lurking in stagnant or muddy inshore waters, where the lack of oxygen compels them to come to the surface and ‘gasp’ for air periodically. The explanation is that in such waters they escape the attention of potential predators.