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Tarpons grow to about 5–8 ft. long and weigh 80–280 lbs. They have dorsal and anal soft rays and have a bluish or greenish back. Tarpons possess distinctive lateral lines and have shiny silvery scales that cover most of the body excluding the head. Tarpons have large eyes with adipose eyelids and a broad mouth with a prominent lower jaw that juts out farther than the rest of the face.
Tarpons inhabit both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Their range in the Eastern Atlantic has been reliably established from Senegal to the Congo. Tarpon inhabiting the western Atlantic are principally found to populate warmer coastal waters focused in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, and the West Indies. Nonetheless, tarpon are regularly caught by anglers at Cape Hatteras and as far as Nova Scotia, Bermuda, and south to Argentina.