Archive for November 30th, 2008

November 30, 2008

Caught in the Seine: Permit

juvenile permit caught in the Indian River Lagoon

Adult permit are absolutely enormous fish.  Trachinotus falcatus routinely average twenty to twenty-five pounds but the record holder for Florida waters was 51 lbs 8 ounces!  Its incredible then, to me, that such substantial adults start life as such a diminutive size. 

When I first began teaching in the IRL system, these tiny reddish and silver fish with large red eyes and entirely transparent caudal fins were quite the mystery to me.  A fellow naturalist even took to naming them “butt fish” because we couldn’t easily see their tails.  These pico-sized permit are likely in the weeks-old category of life and measured no more than a centimeter. 

Incredibly, although the books disagree, we find juvenile permit like this one all along the IRL system at several stages of growth (1-4 cm usually) at several months during the year.  Its hard to believe that these puny babies grow up to be such titans.  Remarkably, if you can provide a home for the adults, permit are rather easy to maintain in lagoon aquariums.  A diet of flake and frozen mysis is eagerly accepted and growth can be very quick on a heavy diet.