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Flyfishingthings.com/Permit (fish)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Carangidae
Genus: Trachinotus
Species: T. falcatus
Binomial name
Trachinotus falcatus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Labrus falcatus Linnaeus, 1758

The permit, Trachinotus falcatus, is a game fish of the western Atlantic ocean belonging to the Carangidae family. Adults feed on crabs, shrimp, and smaller fish. Two submarines of the United States Navy were named USS Permit in its honor, in keeping with the "denizens of the deep" theme of submarine names that prevailed before the 1971 naming of USS Los Angeles.


The permit was first described by the "father of taxonomy", Carolus Linnaeus in his tenth edition of the work Systema Naturae, which was published in 1758. He originally classified it as Labrus falcatus though the fish has since been placed under the genus Trachinotus.[1]


The permit's genus name, Trachinotus comes from a fusion of the Greek words trachys (τραχύς), which means "rough", and noton (νωτον), meaning "back."[2] The species name for the permit, falcatus, is a Latin adjective, which roughly means "armed with scythes." This serves as a reference to the permit's dorsal fin that occasionally protrudes from the water when schools of permit feed near the surface.[1]

Anatomy and morphology

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A preserved Permit from the Gulf of Mexico.

Permits can be distinguished by their elongated dorsal fins and anal fin.[1] The dorsal fin is shaped like a scythe. Permit tails are also deeply forked, and their bodies are compressed laterally, making the fish tall and thin when viewed from the front.[1]

The average permit has six to seven dorsal spines, and eighteen to twenty one soft rays. The anal fin has two to three spines, and sixteen to eighteen soft rays.[3] Both dorsal and anal fins have dark, anterior lobes.[4] Permits have no scutes and have a large, orange-yellow patch on their abdomens in front of their anal fins, while their pectoral fins are dark [5]

The Permit fish can reach a maximum length of 48 inches (122 cm) and can weigh up to 79 pounds (36 kg), according to the Florida Museum of Natural History

Distribution and habitat

Permit are usually found in shallow, tropical waters such as mudflats, channels, and muddy bottoms.[1] They are usually seen as individuals or in small schools; if approached when alone, they attempt to escape human interaction, but if approached when in a school formation, they become aggressive and can deliver dangerous bites.[3] Although permit are found close to shore and even in some brackish areas, they spawn offshore.[4] Young Permit are found usually in the surf zone where there are plenty of small invertebrates for them to feed on.

Permit are found in the western Atlantic ocean from Massachusetts to Brazil, including most of the Caribbean islands.[3]