Selene brownii

Common Name

Full Moonfish

Year Described

Cuvier, 1816


Dorsal Fin: 8 spines, followed by I, 21-23
Anal Fin: 2 spines (resorbed in large fish), followed by I, 17-19
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Gill Rakers: 6-8 upper, 24-28 lower; 30-36 total
Vertebrae: 10 precaudal, 14 caudal

Body short, very deep, and extremely compressed in cross-section. Body depth 61.0-65.7% in FL. Head profile steep and concave (straight in S. vomer). Mouth subterminal at base of head. Eye moderately small (3.4-3.7 in HL). Jaw extends about to anterior margin of eye. Teeth rather small. Second dorsal fin with a short anterior lobe (longer than S. setapinnis). Anal fin with no obvious lobe. Pelvic fin tiny. Pectoral fin falcate and rather large. Lateral line strongly arched anteriorly, and posterior portion straight with 7-12 weak scutes over the caudal peduncle. Body smooth to the touch with scales tiny and embedded where present.

Juveniles have the first four spines of the dorsal fin greatly elongated (about equal to body depth), but the filaments are resorbed in larger fishes (illustrated).


Body is brilliant silver. A faint spot is often present on upper opercle. A dark area on caudal peduncle. Fins clear, but dorsal lobe and caudal fin is often dusky. Juveniles with a dark blotch over the lateral line.


Common to 20cm. Maximum size to 29cm.


Inshore waters over soft and hard bottoms. Forms schools.


Continental waters from Mexico to Brazil, and the Caribbean islands from Cuba to Guadaloupe.


Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 2003. Carangidae (pp 1426-1468). In: Carpenter. 2003. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic v. 3.