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Sea Life, Animals
& Exhibits

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(Trachinotus falcatus)

Falcatus, a Latin adjective that translates to “armed with scythes,” appropriately describes the large sickle-shaped dorsal fin that breaches the surface when permit feed. They are usually found in schools of about ten but have been known to school in larger numbers.


Permit are found in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico mainly on offshore wreckage and rock piles, inshore on turtle grass flats and sand flats from Massachusetts to Brazil.


Permit generally forage on flats and intertidal areas. They use their hard mouth to dig around for food hidden in the sand or mud and will generally eat mollusks or crustaceans, which the Permit crushes with their teeth and bony plates. However, Permit are also opportunistic feeders and will feed on a variety of animals.


Permit spawning generally occurs from May through June in the Florida Keys mainly near natural or artificial reefs or in near shore waters.


Sharks and Barracuda are the main predators of Permit. Many anglers often report that while fighting a permit on their line, a shark would tear their prized sport fish on half and leave only the head.