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Opah
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Scientific Name Lampris guttatus
Conservation Status Data Defficient
Family Chordata
Habitat Temperate Ocean Rims
Food Squid, Krill


Opah (also known colloquially as moonfish, sunfish, kingfish, redfin ocean pan, and Jerusalem haddock) are large, colorful, deep-bodied pelagic Lampriform fish comprising the small family Lampridae (also spelled Lamprididae). There are only two living species in a single genus: Lampris (from the Greek lamprid-, "brilliant" or "clear"). One species is found in tropical to temperate waters of most oceans, while the other is limited to a circumglobal distribution in the Southern Ocean, with the 34th parallel as its northern limit. Two additional species, one in the genus Lampris and the other in the monotypic Megalampris, are only known from fossil remains.

Opah are rarely caught by recreational anglers. They are prized trophies for deep-water anglers as their large size and attractive form lend themselves well to taxidermy. Opah are frequently caught as bycatch in many longline tuna fisheries. Opah is becoming increasingly popular in seafood markets. It first became popular as a sushi and sashimi in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The meat is lightly flavored and lends itself well to a variety of preparations, principally saute. Opah flesh has a light pink to orange color, but turns white when cooked. It is popular in Hawaii, especially in restaurants. An average of 35 percent of an opah's weight is consumable, with the remaining 65% being bone and thick skin.

Almost nothing is known of opah biology and ecology. They are presumed to live out their entire lives in the open ocean, at mesopelagic depths of ca. 50–500 metres, with possible forays into the bathypelagic zone. They are apparently solitary but are known to school with tuna and other scombrids. Opah propel themselves via a lift-based labriform mode of swimming; that is, by flapping their pectoral fins. This, together with their forked caudal fins and depressible median fins, indicates that opah—like tuna—maintain themselves at constantly high speeds.

Squid and euphausiids (krill) make up the bulk of the opah diet; small fish are also taken. Pop-up archival transmitting (PAT) tagging operations have indicated that (aside from humans) large pelagic sharks, such as great white sharks and mako sharks, are primary predators of opah. The tetraphyllidean tapeworm Pelichnibothrium speciosum has been found in L. guttatus, which may be an intermediate or paratenic host.

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