About This Fish


The snoek (Thyrsites atun) is also known as cape snoek and barracouta. It belongs to the family Gempylidae under order Perciformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is found from Namibe in Angola to Mossel Bay in South Africa, off Tristan da Cunha in the mid southern Atlantic and off Western Australia. It occurs near continental shelves or around islands. This species forms schools near the bottom or mid water. It prefers sea water temperature which ranges between 13 °C and 18 °C.

The snoek’s body is an elongated and strongly compressed. The dorsal surface is grey blue and the underside is white. The fins are dusky to black but the prominent dorsal spines are much lighter. Mouth is large with Sharp triangular teeth. The body is covered with numerous minute scales which are arranged in series along the well-defined lateral line. Dorsal fin is divided into spinous and soft part by small notch. Spinous dorsal fin consists of 18-19 long stout spines while soft part contains 10-12 rays. The anal fin has 1 spine and 8-11 rays. Five to six finlets are present each side of the caudal peduncle. The caudal fin is large and forked while the pelvic fin is small in size which is situated far forward on the body just below the pectoral fin. The lateral line is conspicuous and wavy which runs close to the upper line of the body below most of the first dorsal-fin base and then abruptly curves ventrally. It feeds on crustaceans, cephalopods and small fish like anchovy and pilchard. It reaches sexual maturity after 3 years. It grows up to 200 cm in length and 9 kg in weight. It can live up to 10 years.

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Location Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
South Africa