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Lookdown

Selene vomer

The lookdown is a silvery, flat-bodied fish with long, thin first rays on the back and anal fins. (Jeff Kubina/Flickr)
The lookdown is a silvery, flat-bodied fish with long, thin first rays on the back and anal fins. (Jeff Kubina/Flickr)

The lookdown is a silvery, flat-bodied fish that visits the lower to middle Chesapeake Bay in summer and autumn.

Appearance:

The lookdown's thin, flattened, silvery body can grow to a foot or longer, but rarely exceeds 2 to 3 pounds. It has a flattened head and a large mouth located low on its face. Long, thin first rays appear on the back and anal fins, and its tail is deeply forked with a small tail base. Juveniles have long, feathery fins on their back and belly.

Habitat:

Most often found in sandy areas near bridges and pilings. Usually live in small schools close to the bottom.

Range:

Visit the lower to middle Chesapeake Bay in summer and autumn, occasionally ranging as far north as Calvert and Talbot counties in Maryland.

Feeding:

The lookdown eats small worms, fish and crustaceans.

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

Spawning occurs with females laying eggs into the water column. Little else is known about its reproductive cycle.

Other Facts:

  • Gets its name from the way it appears to “look down” as it swims
  • A member of the jack family, which includes amberjacks and pompanos

Sources and Additional Information:

  • Fishes of Chesapeake Bay by Edward O. Murdy, Ray S. Birdsong and John A. Musick
  • Lookdown – Friends of Merrymeeting Bay

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