Pacific Harvestfish, Long-Finned Butterfish
(Peprilus medus)

Pacific Harvestfish, Peprilus medus: The Pacific Harvestfish has an iridescent blue green color that tapers to silvery below. They are characterized by an oval deep body shape (ca. 50 percent deep as wide), with long anal and dorsal fins that are pointed and curved.

Pacific Harvestfish have large eyes that are wider than the length of the snout. They reach 13 inches in length and are found up to 120 feet deep in the water column and are found over sandy bottoms.

This fish species can be easily confused with the almost identical Short-Finned Butterfish, Peprilus synderi, and the Pacific Butterfish, Peprilus simillimus (both of which have snouts that are equal in length or of greater length than the width of the eye).

Distribution in Mexico fishing areas

The Pacific Harvestfish has a limited distribution in Mexican fishing waters, being found only in the lower 25 percent of the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the Mexican mainland south to Guatemala. However the fish pictured below was caught about 40 miles north of Cabo San Lucas on the west coast of Baja indicative that this species can be found from Magdalena Bay south along the west coast of Baja.

Note: There is not much in the literature on this guy. Very rare!

The Pacific Harvestfish is one of the Butterfishes or Harvestfishes and a member of the Stromateida Family which known in Mexico as palometas. They have highly compressed elongated oval bodies with large eyes and short snouts and small oblique mouths and end just before or under the eye. The anal and dorsal fins have long bases, they have no pelvic fins, the pectoral fins are long and pointed and the caudal fin is deeply forked. There are seven global members of the genus of which four can be found in Mexican waters.

Pacific Harvestfish picture

Pacific Harvestfish, Peprilus medus: Caught during fishing by commercial fishermen in the greater Los Cabos area of Baja California Sur, Mexico, in December 2009. Size 12 cm (4.5 inches). Description and photos courtesy of John Snow.

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