Pacific Pompano, Pacific Butterfish
Palometa Plateada
(Peprilus simillimus)

Pacific Pompano, Peprilus simillimus: The Pacific Pompano has an iridescent blue green color that tapers to silvery below. It is characterized by an oval, semicircular shape, with short dorsal and anal fins with long bases.

A key characteristic of the Pacific Pompano is that the snout is equal to or greater in length than the width of the eye.

In addition the Pacific Pompano has 40 anal rays, 45 dorsal rays, and 30 or 31 vertebrae.

It reaches 14 inches in length and is found up to 300 feet deep in the water column.

This fish species can be easily confused with the almost identical Salema Butterfish, Peprilus synderi (42 anal rays, 47 dorsal rays and 36 vertebrae), and possibly the Longfinned Butterfish, Peprilus medius (eye width is greater than the snout).

The Pacific Pompano has a limited distribution in Mexican fishing waters, being found along the entire Pacific coast of the Baja California peninsula and the lower two-thirds of the Sea of Cortez.

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

The Pacific Pompano is one of the Butterfishes or Harvestfishes and a member of the Stromateida Family which are 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. The caudal fin is deeply forked.

There are seven global members of the genus of which four can be found in Mexican fishing areas.

Pacific Pompano fish picture

Pacific Pompano, Peprilus simillimus: Caught during fishing by commercial fishermen in the greater Los Cabos area of Baja California Sur, Mexico, in July 2009. Size 24 cm (9 inches). Identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif. Description and photo courtesy of John Snow.

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