Bonefish, Albula vulpes

The Bonefish (Albula vulpes) is the type species of the bonefish family Albulidae, the only family in the order Albuliformes. They are sometimes mistaken for ladyfishes, which look similar. Linnaeus initially described the bonefish in 1758. The scientific name can be translated to “white fox”.

This Bonefish weighs up to 19 pounds and measures up to 35 inches long. The coloration is silvery with dusky colored fins. The bases of the pectoral fins are a yellow color.

As it is an amphidromous species, it resides in inshore tropical waters and moves onto shallow mudflats to feed with the incoming tide. The adults and the juveniles may shoal together, and they might be found singly or in pairs.

These fish feed on benthic worms, crustaceans, fry, and mollusks. Ledges, drop-offs, and clean, healthy sea grass beds produce abundant small prey such as shrimps and crabs. It might follow stingrays to catch the small creatures that they root from the substrate.

These bonefish are popular fly game fish that are mostly caught for sport. It is not commonly eaten except in Hawaii. “Bonefishing” is a shallow-water pursuit done in depths ranging from 8 inches to several feet of water. Live shrimp and crabs make effective baits.

Image Caption: Bonefish (Albula vulpes) from NOAA. Credit: Hadal/Wikipedia