Yellowfin Snook

Yellowfin Snook, Centropomus robalito

The Yellowfin Snook, Centropomus robalito, whose common Spanish name is robalo aleta amarilla, and known locally as robalo, is a species in the Snook or Centropomidae Family, known collectively as robalos in Mexico. Globally, there are twelve species in the genus Centropomus, and all twelve are found in Mexican waters, six in the Atlantic and six in the Pacific.

The Yellowfin Snooks have oblong elongated compressed bodies. They are silvery fish with a prominent dark lateral line. Their anal and pelvic fins are yellow; their caudal, dorsal, and pectoral fins are dusky with tinges of black (their pectoral fins also have a black base). They have a straight to slightly concave shovel-shaped upper head profile, a large protractile terminal mouth, and a protruding lower jaw. Their second anal spine is very thick and much longer than the third anal spine and it reaches past the caudal fin base. Their pelvic fins are inserted behind the pectoral fins. They have 26-31 gill rakers.

The Yellowfin Snooks are found in bays, estuaries, the lower parts of freshwater streams, and where dry river beds meet the ocean (presumably due to subterranean water flow) at depths up to 80 feet. They reach a maximum of 35 cm (14 inches) in length and 1 kg (2.2 pounds) in weight. The Yellowfin Snooks have not been extensively studies and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Yellowfin Snooks are found from Loreto southward along the southeast coast to Cabo San Lucas with the southern boundary established by the fish pictured below, in the southern half of the Sea of Cortez, and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala. They are more abundant in the southern portions of the range.

The Yellowfin Snook cannot be confused with any other species due to its very thick and long second anal fin spine.

The Yellowfin Snook is small and fairly rare, thus not of significant interest to most.

f135-yellowfin-snook-2Yellowfin Snook, Centropomus robalito, juvenile. Fish caught from coastal waters off Mazatlán, Sinaloa, October 2016. Length: 14 cm (5.5 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Yellowfin Snook, Centropomus robalito. Fish caught out of the San José River, Baja California Sur, with a Cast Net during a breach in the barrier, January 2011. Length: 26 cm (10 inches).