Albula vulpes

Common Name


Year Described

Linnaeus, 1758


Dorsal Fin: 17-19
Anal Fin: 8-10
Pelvic Fin: 9-10
Pectoral Fin: 15-17
Gill Rakers: 7-8 upper and 9-10 lower (rudimentary)
Lateral Line: 65-71
Vertebrae: 69-74

Body moderately elongate and rounded in cross-section. Frontal profile strongly convex. Bottom of head flattened. Snout blunt with a small, inferior mouth (not reaching eye). Gular plate present. Eye relatively large. Branchiostegal rays number 13-14. Dorsal fin is high and triangular at mid-body and lacks a lengthened last ray. Pectoral fin is low on body. Pelvic fin is abdominal and under middle of dorsal fin base. Anal fin located far back on body near caudal fin and lacks a prolonged last ray. Tail is strongly forked. Body with moderate scales.


Brilliant silver with numerous alternating dusky/silver stripes on body (following scale rows). Back bluish or greenish. Fins dusky with white edging.


Maximum size to 80mm TL.


Shallow coastal waters over sandy bottoms and around seagrass beds.


Canada to Brazil, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Also Bermuda.


Bowen, B.W., S.A. Karl & E. Pfeiler. 2008. Resolving evolutionary lineages and taxonomy of bonefishes (Albula spp.). In: J.S. Ault (ed.), Biology and Management of the World Tarpon and Bonefish Fisheries, pp. 147-154. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida.

McEachran, J.D. & J.D. Fechhelm. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 1: Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin. i-viii + 1-1112.

Smith, D.G. 2002. Albulidae. In: FAO Species Identification Guide to Fishes of the Western Atlantic. (ed. Carpenter K), pp. 683-684. UN FAO Publishers, Rome.

Other Notes

The name A. vulpes refers to the W. Atlantic species. Reports outside this region refer to other species. Genetic evidence (Bowen et al., 2008) suggests there are at least two cryptic species of bonefish that are sympatric with A. vulpes in the Caribbean and Florida Keys. The limits of the distribution of both forms is not known and morphological characters to separate them have not been published. One of the cryptic species may be conspecific with the eastern Atlantic A. goreensis.

I will keep all W. Atlantic members of the A. vulpes complex under A. vulpes until the taxonomy is better clarified.