Found in offshore marine waters and shallow coastal embayments, but also frequently enter estuaries and occasionally penetrate freshwater streams (Ref. 44894). A marine species which enters estuaries and rivers (Ref. 52331). Adults occur in small to large schools near the coasts or around islands where reefs are well developed. Eggs and larvae are pelagic up to 2-3 weeks. Older larvae migrate onshore and settle in coastal wetlands (mangroves, estuaries) during the juvenile stage, or occasionally enter freshwater lakes. Juveniles and sub-adults return to sea where they mature sexually. Spawn only in fully saline water. Larvae eat zooplankton; juveniles and adults eat cyanobacteria, soft algae, small benthic invertebrates, and even pelagic fish eggs and larvae. Larvae are collected from rivers and are grown in culture ponds into juveniles, which are marketed fresh, smoked, canned or frozen. Brood stocks can be raised and spawned in captivity to produce larvae in the hatchery (Ref. 12868). Can thrive and grow in water as hot as 32° C (Ref. 9987).
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