The Atlantic Spadefish – Chaetodipeterus, as it is also known in scientific circles, is a species of marine fish that is native to the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. They are usually found in shallow waters and can be spotted near the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico and numerous locations throughout the Caribbean Sea. Strong and fast as well as extremely resilient, these fish are very popular, despite the fact that they only weigh only a few pounds on average. Some of their colloquial names include angelfish, ocean cobbler, threetailed porgy or moonfish.
Spadefish feature large, compressed oval-shaped bodies that somewhat resemble the shape of a disc, and are fitted with a small, blunt stout. Most specimens range between 3 and 10 pounds, however, there are individual angelfish that can weigh up to more than 20 lbs. Also, it is worth mentioning that their maximum length can reach almost 100 cm. Moonfish are generally silver colored with darker bands that make them resemble the moon to a certain extent, while also playing an important role in keeping them camouflaged as they attempt to stay out of sight of their prey and predators.
Plankton and benthic invertebrates are the main food sources for spadefish, Chaetodipterus species being commonly known for their preference of smaller animals and invertebrates that are washed along by ocean currents. They may also quite often feed on larger invertebrates and animals such as crustaceans, annelids, mollusks and cnidareans. According to most experts the complete diet of the moonfish is not fully known, however, its diverse nature can be estimated with a fair degree of accuracy.
The Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are the most significant locations where you can find spadefish, however, the species is actually much more widespread than most know. They can also be found along the coast of Brazil, all the way south close to Sao Paolo. Also, they can be spotted as far north as Rhode Island and Providence near the coast of the Northwest Atlantic. Without a doubt, there is a significant number of spadefish Chaetodipterus experts have discovered along the southern and southeastern coast of the United States, as well as near the coastal regions of the Yucatan Peninsula, where moonfish can be spotted particularly at the north and northwest of the peninsula’s Mexican side.