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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)
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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:

  • Thin, flattened, silvery body
  • Flattened head
  • Large mouth located low on the face
  • Long, thin first rays on the back and anal fins
  • Deeply forked tail and a small tail base
  • Juveniles have long, feathery fins on the back and belly
  • Can grow to a foot or longer, but rarely exceeds 2-3 pounds

Habitat:

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

Range:

  • Visits the lower to middle Chesapeake Bay in summer and autumn
  • Occasionally ranges as far north as Calvert and Talbot counties in Maryland

Feeding:

  • Eats small worms, fish and crustaceans

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Spawns by 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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