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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Wreckfish Polyprion americanus

The name of this fish comes from the juveniles’ habit of accompanying drifting wreckage. This is a large, solid fish with a pointed head and a protruding lower jaw. It has a spiny dorsal fin and a bony ridge running across the gill cover. Adult wreckfish live close to the bottom of the sea floor and often lurk inside shipwrecks and caves. Juvenile wreckfish prefer surface waters and can often be approached by snorkelers, presumably because the fish consider the swimmers to be floating wreckage. As the young fish grow, they give up their nomadic life to live near the seabed. Adults are fished using lines and make good eating.

Wreckfish habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Perciformes
  • Length Up to 7 ft (2 m)
  • Weight Up to 220 lb (100 kg)
  • Depth 130–2,000 ft (40–600 m)
  • Distribution Atlantic, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, and Pacific