Fun Bonefish Facts For Kids

Aashita Dhingra
Jan 11, 2023 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Discover interesting bonefish facts such as catching them is called bonefishing or bonefish fly fishing.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.3 Min

Bonefish (Albula vulpes) are found in warm tropical waters and they are from the family of Albulidae. They are found in the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean.

The coasts of Florida, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, California, and Peru are abundant in bonefish. Bonefish were believed to be the largest single species to have a global distribution for a long time in history. Nowadays, there are nine species of bonefish.

Bonefish can be found in water depths as deep as 328 ft (100 m). When this species has to feed, they move to extremely shallow waters. During high tides, they move to shallow waters, and during low tides, they move to deep waters. The female bonefish is larger than the male bonefish.

Bonefish live for about five to 10 years. In some cases, they’ve been known to live for 20 years. They prey and feed mostly on shrimps and mollusks.

They are known for having a large number of small bones in their body. Humans have a long history of suffering from ciguatera poisoning by eating bonefish. The bonefish play an extremely important role in the food chain in their ecosystem. Bonefishing is prohibited in various parts of the world due to their Near Threatened status.

Some areas only allow recreational catch-and-release fishing of bonefish by anglers. Anglers are fond of catching bonefish. In Florida, fishing of only one bonefish per day is allowed.

You will find in this article information regarding the bonefish tail, the Caribbean bonefish snout, and bonefish fishing.

You may also check out our fact files on african arowana and mudfish from Kidadl.

Bonefish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a bonefish?

Bonefish (Albula vulpes) is a type of marine animal.

What class of animal does a bonefish belong to?

The bonefish (Albula vulpes) belongs to the class of fish.

How many bonefish are there in the world?

The population of bonefish is roughly 350,000 in the world.

Where does a bonefish live?

Bonefish live far north, extending to the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean.

What is a bonefish's habitat?

The bonefish habitat is coastal. This species is commonly found in river mouths, mangroves, deeper waters, and intertidal flats. The flats generally have varied compositions like sand, grass, and rocky.

Bonefish are known to be able to tolerate oxygen-deficient water. If they find oxygen-deficient water like in coastal areas, they inhale the air into an air bladder which is lung-like. Bonefish live in schools, sometimes in packs of up to 100 bonefishes.

Bonefishes move to deeper water during a falling tide, while in the rising tide, they move to shallow waters near islands.

Bonefish generally move to some other site after they’ve spent time in one for a few days. During the summers, larger bonefishes remain in the deep waters, and they rarely move towards the flats. They eventually reappear in the season of autumn as the water temperature cools down.

Bonefish can live in waters as deep as 328 ft (100 m). When they have to feed, they move to very shallow waters. During the time of feeding, they move to waters as shallow as 4 in (10 cm). They return back to deeper waters after that.

Who do bonefish live with?

Bonefish live in large packs or in a family of fishes called schools.

How long does a bonefish live?

Bonefishes generally live for about 19- 23 years. This species of fish become fully mature between three to four years of age.

How do they reproduce?

Breeding and reproduction among bonefish occur seasonally with a litter size of 1,700,000 eggs per female. They are polygynandrous, meaning they have multiple sexual partners. Eggs and sperms are released into the water by the males and females, and group fertilization occurs externally.

Spawning occurs between November and June in deep water which has a current to transport the eggs. Bonefish eggs float in the water freely. After hatching, baby bonefish are in a larval state for a month and become mature in three years.

What is their conservation status?

Bonefish are listed by the IUCN as Near Threatened. Their fishing is regulated for anglers.

In the Bahamas, capturing and the commercial trade of bonefish is prohibited. In an effort to conserve fish and their habitats, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands use marine protected areas to protect marine biodiversity. In Belize and Puerto Rico, a catch-and-release-only is practiced for recreation. Florida also declared bonefish to be catch-and-release in 2011.

Rapid human development, rising exploitation in coastal waters, and environmental changes suggest that new resource ecology is critically needed to support the management of these species and their conservation. Bonefish is associated with several Marine Protected Areas.

Bonefish Fun Facts

What do bonefish look like?

Bonefish have slender, round bodies and their scales can be silver to black in color. Their dorsal profiles are more convex than ventral profiles. They have yellowish pectoral fins and long, narrow snouts for eating.

They do not have spines. An adult bonefish can weigh up to 13 lb (6 kg), and length can range between 30-35 in (76.2-88.9 cm) from snout to tail. They have bony eyes, a conical nose, pointed tails, and inferior mouths.


How cute are they?

Bonefish are odd-looking fish that are not cute.

How do they communicate?

Being a schooling species, bonefish have a strong range of vision and sense of smell. They communicate with senses and gestures.

How big is a bonefish?

Bonefish range between 30-35 in (75-90 cm) in length and weigh about 13 lb (6 kg). They are about three times larger than an average trout fish. The largest bonefish found in Africa reached a size of 3 feet (0.9 m).

How fast can a bonefish swim?

Bonefish can swim at speeds ranging as much as 37-43 mph (60-69 kph).

How much does a bonefish weigh?

The bonefish weighs about 13 lb (6 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Both males and females of this species are called bonefish.

What would you call a baby bonefish?

Young or baby bonefish that are no longer in larval state can be called fry.

What do they eat?

Bonefish generally feed on mollusks and crustaceans. The bonefish diet includes tiny crabs, shrimp and worms. In order to find food, they sift through sands on the bottommost parts.

This is why their mouths are shaped in the form of long, narrow snouts. On overcast cloudy days, they have their small bones tailing in shallow waters in mangroves where they find crabs, shrimps and snails to feed upon. They are known as bottom feeders.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, bonefish are predators and when caught they can show aggressive behavior in order to escape. They possess pharyngeal teeth for grinding and crushing prey.

Would they make a good pet?

No, bonefish are carnivorous sea fish that cannot survive in home environments. They are a game fish variety and are also hunted for seafood.

Did you know...

Bonefish cannot swim backwards. They have an air bladder that is modified to receive oxygen. The teeth of the bonefish are called crushing teeth. They are called bonefish because they have a bony covering on their eyes and their bony flesh.

Bonefishing or bonefish fly fishing is an important water sport for tourists and anglers in the Bahamas and Andros flats. Other places with bonefishing flats are the Seychelles Islands, Cook Islands and Mexico.

Eating bonefish

Bonefish tastes great but it's difficult to eat owing to its large number of small bones. The number of small bones is intimidating in number and a nuisance to separate. They are extremely popular in Central America and Mexico. Bonefish meat is used for fish cakes and stews. In the Bahamas, bonefish is baked.

Why are they called bonefish?

Bonefish are called this name due to the fact that they have tons of small bones in their body. In fact, bonefish have been outlawed at various places because they are difficult to eat without the bones.

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 pink salmon facts and sandfish facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Bonefish coloring pages.

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

Aashita Dhingra picture

Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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