Mexican Lookdown

Mexican Lookdown, Selene brevoortii

The Mexican Lookdown, Selene brevoortii, whose common Spanish name is jorobado mexicano and whose local name is pompano, is an exotic looking member of the Jack or Carangidae Family, known collectively as jureles and pámpanos in Mexico. In the greater Los Cabos area they are known as tortillas. Globally, there are nine species in the genus Selene, six of which are found in Mexican waters, three in the Atlantic and three in the Pacific.

The Mexican Lookdowns have strongly compressed pentagonally-shaped bodies with a depth that is 56 to 60% of standard length. They are uniformly silver in color. They have a deep head with a steep concave forehead and snout profile. Their mouth is oblique and ends well before the eyes. They have distinguishing long anal and dorsal fins, a deeply forked caudal fin, long and curved pectoral fins, and very small short pelvic fins. Their dorsal spines are short, with at least one being isolated; they have no isolated finlets after their second dorsal and anal fins. They have 29 to 34 gill rakers and very small poorly developed scutes. Their body appears devoid of scales.

The Mexican Lookdowns are a pelagic schooling species found inshore and in estuaries demersal over sandy bottoms at depths up to 165 feet. They reach a maximum length of 42 cm (17 inches). They are a poorly studied species and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Mexican Lookdown are found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from the northern half of the Sea of Cortez.

The Mexican Lookdown can be confused with the Mexican Moonfish, Selene orstedii (oblique forehead; long pelvic fins) and the Pacific Moonfish, Selene peruviana (short anal and dorsal fins; no pelvic fins).

The Mexican Lookdowns are uncommon but can occasionally be caught predawn with Sabiki rigs tipped with squid. They are also caught with large cast nets and sold as live bait fish. They are considered an excellent food fish by locals.

Mexican Lookdown, Selene brevoortii. Fish provided by the commercial bait salesmen of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, July 2014. Length: 35 cm (14 inches).

Mexican Lookdown, Selene brevoortii. Fish caught from coastal waters within Muertos Bay, Baja California Sur, January 2016 Length: 30 cm (12 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of Brad Murakami, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

Mexican Lookdown, Selene brevoortii. Fish caught from coastal waters off Mazatlán, Sinaloa, October 2017. Length: 26 cm (10 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.