BAHAMAS REEF FISH (51): BLACK MARGATE
The black margate (Anisotremus surinamensis) is a type of GRUNT (see also PORKFISH) found among the reefs and rocks of (mostly) the western Atlantic seaboard, from Florida as far south as Brazil. They are relatively ‘shallow’ fish and they prefer to be close to place where they can live safely and avoid the predators that lurk in open or deep water.
Margates are not usually very large, mostly growing to between 18″ and 30″, although they can grow larger. Thanks to the awesomeness of Wiki and other reliable sources I can confidently report that “…the maximum recorded weight for this species is 5.8 kg (13 lb)“.
MAY WE HAVE THE TRADITIONAL 10 FUN FACTS PLEASE?
- Local names include burriquete (Sp) and zapatero or burros (Mex)
- There are 10 margate species world wide, including 2 Pacific versions
- Their heads slope down to a notably thick lipped mouth in which they have strong teeth
- Margates have erectile spines, presumably for defence (I’ve not tested that)
- They like to shelter in caves and crevices, on ledges, and in wrecks (see pics)
- Margates are ‘solitary fish’ or hang out in small groups
- They are night-feeders on a diet of crustaceans, mollusks, smaller fish & urchins
- Sadly for them, they are valued by commercial fisheries using baited drift fishing…
- …and also targeted by anglers during the spawning season when they shoal (?unfair)
- … and also caught as aquarium fish, adding to stock depletion
Credits: all photos, Melinda Riger / Grand Bahama Scuba; research from magpie pickings and in particular the interesting mexicanfish.com