Jupiter Marine Spotlight: Atlantic Spadefish
Atlantic Spadefish (Chaetodipterus faber)
The Atlantic Spadefish got its name from its characteristic spade-shaped body, which is compressed with a very short snout. They have silver colored bodies with several dark bars, but the silver may turn gray and the bars can pale dramatically over time. Atlantic Spadefish typically grow to 1-1 1/2ft, with maximum lengths of 3 feet. Juveniles, which are commonly found in shallow coastal waters, are black in color for greater camouflage.
Atlantic Spadefish are found around subtropical reefs, commonly off the coast of Florida and the Bahamas to southeastern Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico in depths ranging from 10 to 70ft. They feed on microscopic organisms that drift with the current and tiny invertebrates that live in or near the bottom. Adults usually swim in small schools in open water, although in Florida and the Bahamas we’ll see them in schools of up 500 individuals. They appear unafraid of divers and will curiously circle a diver while attracted by the divers bubbles.