What is Bonefish?
The bonefish is one of the species of the bonefish family, also known as the Albulidae. This species has a distinctive blue-greenish appearance, characterized by bright silver scales on its sides and lower body, through which dark streaks run, especially on the fish’s dorsal side. They mostly inhabit tropical and warm temperate waters all over the world, and are commonly found in the mangrove areas, intertidal flats, river mouths and deeper adjacent waters.
Their scientific name is Albula Vulpes, a Latin word which when translated to English means a “white fox.” It has other synonyms like Esox Argenteus, as well as other names given to it by people from different parts of the world. The Swahili speaking communities, for instance refer to it as “kifimbo,” which means a small baton when translated to English. They move in schools, mostly in groups of 100.
Facts about Bonefish
A lot of research has been conducted in a bid to find out more about this species. However, not much progress has been made with respect to identifying all the species, but the most common species, the Albula Vulpes, have been widely studied. Here are the facts about bonefish that scientists have come up with:
1. Age, size and growth
The bonefish has been found to live up to an average of 19 years. Some, however go beyond that, but not by a very big margin. They also grow to a maximum length of about 77 centimeters, which is approximately 31 inches. Their weight, however varies with their habitat. For instance, bonefish living in the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea weight about 14 pounds, those in Florida and the Bahamas weight about 4 to 6 pounds while those found in Africa and Hawaii weigh up to 20 pounds.
2. Distinctive features
Their most distinctive feature is the conical nose, which protrudes to about a third of the fish’s length beyond the mandible and the distinctively inferior mouth. It also has a slender body which is round and compressed, a feature which is more significant in the older fish.
The bonefish reproduces all year round. They prefer spawning in deeper water mainly because the currents here can easily disperse the eggs to other locations. Although they reproduce all year round, the reproduction activities are not as high during the hot summer periods as they are in between the months of June and November. Sexual maturity among these fish is reached when they reach about two years of age.
4. Nutritional and health benefits of bonefish to people
Albeit the commercial sale of bonefish in some states like Florida is banned, people in other places still fish them for food. Here are the ten health benefits, which people get from consuming 1 serving of bonefish:
• 10 grams of fat, which provides the body with energy, keeps the body’s shape intact and nourishes the body when food is not present.
• It has absolutely no saturated fats, which are bad for the body as they are quite hard to melt and hence are not of much nutritional benefit.
• It contains zero grams of cholesterol unlike most other foods. Cholesterol is responsible for many body complications, including enhancing risks of high blood pressure.
• 28 grams of carbohydrates, essential for providing the energy the body needs to stay active.
• 8 grams of dietary fiber, which comes in handy during digestion. It enhances the process of digestion and metabolism getting rid of toxins in the stomach and promoting fat burning in the process.
• 7 grams of proteins necessary for muscle building and energy.
• 810 milligrams of sodium, an essential ion in the body.
• 210 calories for providing the body with energy and heat.
• 16 grams of sugars necessary for balancing the blood sugar level and for providing the body with extra energy.
• Vitamins and minerals.
Interesting facts about the bonefish
The bonefish has some very interesting facts, which caught the attention of the scientists during its study. One of these facts was discovered when the scientists were conducting a research on the contents of its stomach. They found that the bonefish eats at least 106 different types of foods, depending on age, size and habitat.
Another very interesting fact is that they can survive very well in waters with low supply of oxygen. This is made possible by the lung-like air bladder they have. All they do is inhale air into it just like you would.
In addition, juvenile bonefish have a series of 9 dark cross bands distributed on their bodies. These cross bands go on fading as the fish go on growing, making it easy to approximate a bonefish’s age.
They are also reputed for putting up quite a fight when taken out of the water, a character that has made them very popular among many people, including celebrities and several US presidents.