Opah, Moonfish, Jerusalem Haddock
(Lampris gutatus

Opah, Lampris gutatus: The Opah resembles an enormous butterfish, but the butterfish have no ventral fins. The Opah can be distinguished from the similar appearing mackerels and pompanos by the number of pectoral rays (Opah have 14 to 17; mackerels and pompanos have no more than 8).

The Opah are collected as an incidental catch by longliners and purse seiners and sold commercially on a limited basis, since they are an excellent food. In Mexico fishing waters the Opah is found only along the Pacific side of the Baja California peninsula north of Magdalena Bay between 300 and 1,200 feet deep in the water column. It reaches up to 6 feet in length and 700 pounds. It feeds on midwater fish and invertebrates, primarily squid.

This fish species is the sole member of the Lampridae Family and is a very colorful pelagic solitary wandering the fish that travels the globe with tuna and billfish. It has a dark steely blue body that is less than twice as long as wide, with green, silver and purple iridescent tones. The body is covered with silver spots in irregular rows. The fins are red in color, but each is trimmed in off-white.

The Opah have a single dorsal fin, long pointed pectoral and pelvic fins, and a broadly concave caudal fin. The anal fin is shorter than the dorsal fin and about equal in height to the rear portion of the dorsal fin, and both extend to the tail base. There is a gold band around the eyes. The Opah have small toothless pointed mouths and minute scales. The lateral line is strongly arched upward above the pectoral fins and then downward at the rear.

Opah fish picture

Opah, Lampris gutatus: Photo courtesy the Shogun.

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