Fun Atlantic Moonfish Facts For Kids

Gurpuneet Kaur
Nov 16, 2022 By Gurpuneet Kaur
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Ponder upon some interesting and fun Atlantic moonfish facts.

A cold-blooded marine creature that is found to breathe with its gill and swim with its fins has various species with distinctive features and appearances. With over 30,000 various fishes, an Atlantic moonfish, Selene setapinnis, is one of them.

A moonfish? Yes!

With a body shaped vaguely like a moon and silvery-blue in color, the fish is referred to as a moonfish. It was first documented by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. These fish range throughout the western Atlantic.

The distribution of fish is quite common along the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, Nova Scotia, South America, and Argentina. A search highlighted that the fish was recorded in the eastern Atlantic, but is replaced by one of its genus species, Selene dorsalis.

The Atlantic silver moonfish has a flat, compressed, and slender body with a concave head with large eyes set high.

The metallic moon-shaped fish's upper jaw is small in length, while the lower jaw is protruding and extends with a length longer than the upper jaw.

Surprisingly, the moonfish has eight spines forming a dorsal fin, two spines on its anal fin, and a small pelvic fin with 21 dorsal soft rays and 17 anal soft rays extending from the dorsal fin and pelvic fin.

Another distinctive characteristic to identify the moonfish is the black spot on its gill cover, on the tip of its snout, and a faint spot on the base of its pectoral fin.

Besides, it also has a thin black strip above its forked tail, while the fins are small and yellow in color.

It is quite similar to its genus species, lookdown (Selene vomer) which range throughout the Pacific.

If the uniqueness of the Atlantic moonfish makes you interested to read more about similar species, you can read about redear sunfish and chum salmon.

Atlantic Moonfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Atlantic moonfish?

The Atlantic moonfish, Selene setapinnis, is a deep-bodied fish found near the bottom with a depth range of up to 177 ft (54 m). It is quite similar to the Selene vomer.

The Atlantic moonfish scientific name for its genus has a Greek origin, i.e. 'Selena' which means 'moon'.

On the other hand, the specific name 'setapinnis' is a compound of 'seta' and 'pinnis', meaning 'bristle' and 'fin', respectively. Thus, the scientific name of northern Atlantic moonfish refers to the vague moon-shaped body with bristle-like edges of its dorsal fin and anal fin.

What class of animal does an Atlantic moonfish belong to?

The Atlantic moonfish, Selene setapinnis, belongs to the class Actinopterygii, phylum Chordata, order family Carangidae, and the genus Selene. It is a western Atlantic fish inhabiting near the bottoms of brackish and inshore waters.

How many Atlantic moonfish are there in the world?

Research reports fail to reflect upon the population range of the Atlantic moonfish, Selene setapinnis. While the estimated number of Atlantic moonfish is not documented, the search highlights the species to be tagged as Least Concern under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Where does an Atlantic moonfish live?

The populations of Atlantic moonfish, Selene setapinnis, range throughout the western Atlantic and are found with a depth ranging from 177 ft (54 m). The distribution of this fish is along the coasts of Nova Scotia, Argentina, the Gulf of Mexico, and South America.

Formerly, it was reported to live in the eastern Atlantic but is now replaced by Selene dorsalis.

What is an Atlantic moonfish's habitat?

The habitat of Atlantic moonfish is documented near the bottom of brackish and inshore waters. Its depth range is at least 177 ft (54 m). According to the search, juveniles are recorded to live on muddy bottoms. The fish's range spans from Nova Scotia to Argentina. While adults prefer inshore waters, juveniles inhabit brackish waters.

Who do Atlantic moonfish live with?

Research highlighted that adults and juveniles live in schools.

How long does an Atlantic moonfish live?

The life span of an Atlantic moonfish, Selene setapinnis, is not deciphered yet. On the contrary, a bigmouth buffalo fish is recorded to be the longest living fish that lived up to 112 years.

How do they reproduce?

From the search reports, it was highlighted that the Atlantic moonfish, Selene setapinnis, is a poorly studied creature. On the other hand, the metallic fish was first recorded by Carl Linnaeus in 1758.

While the fish are recorded schooling often, the reproduction mechanism of the fish from the order Carangiformes remains a mystery. It is highlighted that it attains sexual maturity reaching a fork length up to 5 in (13 cm).

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Selene setapinnis (Atlantic moonfish) is listed as Least Concern under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The fish is at no risk except the fact that the Atlantic moonfish (edible) is often used as food in the United States and its neighbor.

It is caught with trawls and seines around various marine environments, yet the marine creature is at no risk of being endangered.

Atlantic Moonfish Fun Facts

What do Atlantic moonfish look like?

The Selene setapinnis, Atlantic moonfish, is a silvery blue fish with a concave head. The body has a metallic sheen and is compressed.

While the body and head are silver in color, the Atlantic moonfish fins are mostly yellow in color. The eyes are large and are set low over its head.

On the other hand, the upper jaw is short and the lower jaw is protruding, extending longer than the upper jaw. The pectoral fins are sickle-shaped while the tail is forked with a slender base. It has a faint black spot on the gill cover with a strip running above the tail.

It too has a spot on its snout. The moonfish has eight spines forming a dorsal fin, two spines on its anal fin, and a small pelvic fin with 21 dorsal soft rays and 17 anal soft rays.

Furthermore, the moonfish is naked, yet has small scales over the lower half of its body. The uniquely shaped body is one of the key characteristics (Atlantic moonfish).

The fish up to the fork length of 5 in (13 cm) are speculated to attain sexual maturity. While adults and juveniles are not easily distinguishable, the young fish is found to be shorter in length with a silvery gill cover.

It is a silver moon-shaped fish with yellow fins and tail.

How cute are they?

The Selene setapinnis (Atlantic moonfish) is one of the adorable marine creatures of the ocean. It is quite common along the coasts. According to the search, the cute metallic fish was first documented in 1758 attracting the attention of humans.

How do they communicate?

There are no speculations about the communication methodology documented in the search reports.

How big is an Atlantic moonfish?

The length of the Atlantic moonfish varies between 10-24 in (25-60 cm). It is 10 times smaller than the longest shark, a whale shark, the length of which ranges between 217-393 in (551-998 cm).

How fast can an Atlantic moonfish swim?

The Atlantic moonfish is recorded at least within the depth length of more than 177 ft (54 m). On the other hand, its speed is not yet computed considering its poorly studied documentations.

How much does an Atlantic moonfish weigh?

The moonfish (Atlantic) weighs up to 10 lb (4.6 kg), which is quite negligible considering its length. In comparison, a whale shark is pretty heavy compared to its length.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific names of the moonfish.

What would you call a baby Atlantic moonfish?

A baby moonfish can be called a fry.

What do they eat?

Found with a depth range of 177 ft (54 m) and more, the fish of moonfish (Atlantic) feed crustaceans and marine creatures with a comparatively short length including shrimp, crab, cuttlefish, and other short fishes.

Are they dangerous?

The moonfish are some of the common predators that feed upon crustaceans and marine creatures. Thus, the moonfish is only dangerous to fishes of a short length and other small-short marine creatures.

Would they make a good pet?

The Atlantic Moonfish is rarely kept as a pet.

Did you know...

Spots and blotches with a thin strip over its gill cover make it quite easy to be identified.

Types of moonfish

There are several identical species of Atlantic moonfish from its genus like the Pacific moonfish (Selene peruviana), lookdown (Selene vomer), and African moonfish (Selene dorsalis) that inhabit the Pacific Ocean, eastern Atlantic, and coasts of Africa.

Are Atlantic moonfish good to eat?

It is rarely consumed as food in American and neighboring countries. Its edibility is rated between poor and good. While there is no harm in consuming the moonfish, it has a distinctive taste.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these channel catfish facts or African lungfish facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Atlantic moonfish coloring pages.

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Written by Gurpuneet Kaur

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gurpuneet Kaur picture

Gurpuneet KaurBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

As a skilled content writer, Gurpuneet has written and managed engaging content for multiple websites and companies. Driven by a passion for helping young people achieve their full potential, she brings a unique perspective to her work. She is currently pursuing a degree in Economics from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College Of Commerce. With extensive experience as a tutor, Gurpuneet has made a significant impact by providing guidance and academic support to students. Her dedication extends beyond tutoring as she has volunteered with Action India, where she offered medical assistance and educational aid to underprivileged communities. Additionally, Gurpuneet has contributed to the creation of student study guides for various educational agencies.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

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Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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