(Lepidocybium flavobrunneum)

Escolar, Lepidocybium flavobrunneum: The Escolar has a uniform grey-brown appearance, but large, more mature fish are black in color. The Escolar is characterized by a long pointed oval head with large eyes and large mouts.

A key to identification, the first dorsal fin has 8 or 9 spines and is very low, and the second dorsal fin is followed by a series of 4 to 5 finlets. The anal fin is also followed by 4 to 5 finlets.

This fish species has a forked tail with one large and two small keels at the base of the caudal fin. The body is covered with small scales and smooth skin. The Escolar is similar to and can be confused with the Black Snake Mackerel, Nealotus tripes (first dorsal fin has a very long base), the Monterey Spanish Mackerel, Scomberomorus concolor (6 to 8 anal and dorsal finlets), and the Oilfish, Ruvettas pretiosus (first dorsal has 13 to 15 spines).

The Escolar is a member of the Gemphylidae Family which includes the escolars, oilfish, and snake mackerels. There are 23 known global members of this family from 16 genera. The Escolar is the only member of the genus Lepidocybium.

It reaches a maximum size of 7 feet and 100 pounds. It is normally a deep water species found between 600 and 2,700 feet of the water column.

Distribution in Mexico fishing areas

It is found in all Mexican fishing waters and is resident in all tropic waters south of 50 degrees North latitude. As the species is quite rare, the food value of the Escolar is unknown.

Escolar fish picture 1

Escolar fish picture 2

Escolar, Lepidocybium Flavobrunneum: Being sold at malecon fish market, Ensenada, Baja California., Mexico. Keith Berkley said many were being sold, and they were brown, about 50 pounds, with very rough skin and big teeth, but they were not sharks. The fish belongs to the Gempylidae Family of Snake Mackerels. Photos courtesy Keith Berkley. Fish identification courtesy Peter Langstraat.

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