The lookdown, Selene vomer, is a game fish of the Carangidae family. The lookdown was first described in 1758 by the "father of taxonomy", Carolus Linnaeus, in the 10th edition of his book Systema Naturae.
Although the lookdown is similar to the Atlantic moonfish, it can be distinguished by its dorsal and anal fins, the second ray on each fin being many times longer than the surrounding rays. This gives the dorsal and anal fins a noticeably scythe-like shape. Also, the dorsal fin of the lookdown has 9 spines and 23 rays, while the anal fin has only 3 spines and 18 rays. The lookdown, like the Atlantic moonfish, had a deep, rhombus-shaped, laterally-compressed body. The head has the mouth set low and the eyes high. The overall profile of a lookdown's head is concave. The caudal fin of the lookdown is forked, as in the Pompanos, while the pectoral fin is similar to a scythe and reaches the middle of the second of the lookdown's dorsal fin.
Lookdown are usually described as being silvery on both sides with darker tints on top. Young lookdown have several faint, vertical bars that fade as the fish grows. The longest lookdown known was 48.3 cm long, the heaviest known lookdown weighed 2.1 kg.
Distribution and habitat
In the western Atlantic, the lookdown is found from Canada and Maine south to Uruguay, which includes Bermuda and the Gulf of Mexico. Although lookdown are common in tropical, Atlantic waters, they are rarely seen in the Greater Antilles.
Lookdown are found in both marine and brackish waters at depths of 1 to 53 meters. They usually live in shallow water near the coast, along hard or sandy bottoms. Juveniles may be seen in estuaries or near sandy beaches Lookdown usually swim together in shoals, but they often break away into smaller groups or even in pairs.
Lookdown do not play a significant role in commercial fisheries. However, lookdown are highly sought after for large public aquarium displays due to their interesting shape and flashy appearance. Proaquatix raises the only known captive bred lookdowns strictly as an ornamental species.
- "gma.org entry on Lookdown". http://www.gma.org/fogm/Selene_vomer.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-01.
- "Fishbase.org entry on Lookdown". http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=1004. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- "gma.org entry on Lookdown". http://www.gma.org/fogm/Selene_vomer.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
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