Are you interested to know more about the amazing fish that roams around the Atlantic? This species is known as cobia, which is found in the warm parts of the ocean, feeding on crabs, shrimps, and smaller fish. The cobia is the only fish in the family rachycentridae. It is also known by other names like crabeater, black bonito, black salmon, and black kingfisher. It is most commonly found in the Gulf region especially the Gulf of Mexico, Florida Keys, Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean sea. The Rachycentron canadum prefers warm water, thus flocking in tropical and temperate waters. They are mainly caught for food as they are very tasty, but are sometimes also caught for game. They are found offshore and at the coast, where there are many things like platforms and buoys to obstruct the open ocean. The cobia spends its time looking for food or scavenging after large predators. While some are found swimming in small groups or classes, others are found swimming alone.
Continue reading to know more facts about the cobia. If you enjoyed this article you will also enjoy our articles on albacore and mussels.
What do they prey on?
Crab, shrimp, small fish
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
Hundred thousand eggs
How much do they weigh?
50 lb (23 kg)
How long are they?
20-47 in (50-120 cm)
How tall are they?
20-47 in (50-120 cm)
What do they look like?
Black, grey, brown
What are their main threats?
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Temperate, tropical waters
Western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea
Cobia Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a Cobia?
The cobia is a type of fish.
What class of animal does a Cobia belong to?
The fish cobia belongs to the class of Actinopterygii.
How many Cobia are there in the world?
According to the reports of IUCN, the conservation status of cobia is of Least Concern, which leads us to believe that there are plenty of them in the world. While the exact number cannot be determined, their population is stable due to their breeding process, as they produce millions of eggs in every segment.
Where does a Cobia live?
The cobia can be found in tropical, subtropical, and warm-temperate oceans all over the world. This pelagic fish can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Argentina to Nova Scotia in Canada extending down to the Caribbean Sea. It can be found in large quantities in warm waters off the US coast, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Chesapeake Bay. The cobia moves south and offshore to warmer waters during the autumn and winter months. They prefer water temperatures to be around 86°F. They are found off the coasts of the Florida Keys and south Florida, seeking refuge in wrecks, harbors, and reefs. Early in the spring, cobia migrate northward along the Atlantic coast.
What is a Cobia's habitat?
Cobia is a pelagic fish that can be found on the continental shelf and near offshore reefs. It likes to live near buoys, pilings, anchored vessels, platforms, and flotsam, all of which obstruct the open sea. Inshore, the cobia can be found in bays, inlets, and mangroves.
Who do Cobia live with?
The cobia spends its time looking for food or scavenging after large predators. While some are found swimming in small groups or classes, others are found swimming alone. In pursuit of possible prey, they often congregate near buoys, pilings, or floating debris. The cobia migrate to the Gulf of Mexico on a seasonal basis.
How long does a Cobia live?
Cobia is a fast-growing fish with a relatively long lifespan. Females and males in the Gulf of Mexico reach maximum ages of 11 and nine years, respectively. While females and males living on the coast of North Carolina reach maximum ages of 13 and 14 years.
How do they reproduce?
Cobias spawn in the northern Gulf of Mexico's coastal waters during the spring and summer, with peak spawning occurring between May and July. Females are 'batch spawners', releasing tens of thousands of eggs during the spawning season. The buoyant eggs become part of the plankton after fertilization and hatch within 24-30 hours, producing rapidly developing larvae.
What is their conservation status?
According to the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the conservation status of cobia lies at Least Concern. While they are in no apparent danger due to the huge number of eggs they lay every breeding season, they might be in danger of overfishing in certain areas.
Cobia Fun Facts
What do Cobia look like?
Cobias have a dark brown to silver body, paler on the sides, and greyish white to silver below, with two narrow dark bands running from the snout to the base of the caudal fin. Paler bands border these dark bands on the top and bottom. Young cobia have distinct dark lateral bands, which fade away as the fish matures. The anal and pelvic fins have grey markings, and the majority of the fins are dark brown.
Cobia has a protruding lower jaw with bands of villiform teeth on their lips, as well as on their tongue and roof of the mouth. With a long, depressed head, the body is elongated and torpedo-shaped. The first dorsal fin is easily distinguished by its seven to nine small, strong isolated spines that are not bound by a membrane. The anterior part of the second dorsal fin is raised.
How cute are they?
Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) is not considered typically cute because of its sharp features. Its striking resemblance to a shark makes it look scary and intimidating.
How do they communicate?
The exact communication methods of the cobia are unknown. However, it is safe to assume that they communicate like most fish. They use their sense of smell, motion, sound, electrical impulses, bioluminescence, and color, to communicate with each other.
How big is a Cobia?
The cobia grows to be 20-47 in (50-120 cm) long, with a maximum recorded length of 79 in (200 cm).
How fast can a Cobia swim?
The cobia is a good predator and can catch its prey quite swiftly. While its exact swim speed is unknown, it is fast enough to catch its victim.
How much does a Cobia weigh?
Cobia generally weighs up to 50 lb (23 kg).
What are their male and female names of the species?
There are no specific names for the male and female cobia.
What would you call a baby Cobia?
There is no specific name for the baby cobia.
What do they eat?
The cobia is an opportunistic hunter feeding on several fish. Crabs and shrimp are their favorite foods, but they also consume squid and smaller fish.
Are they dangerous?
The cobia is not that dangerous, but they are aggressive when provoked or attacked. They tend to thrash around with harsh tail movements after being caught during fishing. Cobia aquaculture facts state that it is difficult to catch a cobia, but it can be done with the correct type of bait. There are between seven and nine very sharp and stout dorsal spines, which can cause injuries. So, to prevent that, special care should be taken while handling these powerful fish.
Would they make a good pet?
A cobia cannot be kept as a pet as it becomes too big to be accommodated properly in a home aquarium.
Did you know...
According to its natural history, the cobia was first discovered in 1975 in North Carolina. The cobia eggs were the first to be discovered after which people got to know about this species. Later, research was conducted both in Taiwan and the USA in the early 1990s and the late 1980s respectively. This research led to the conclusion that these fish were good for aquaculture.
Can you eat Cobia?
Yes, people do eat cobia as it is a very tasty fish. Although a little expensive, its smooth, buttery taste makes it very appealing to people. Its taste is also very mild which makes it the perfect fish to be used in various recipes. Also, this fish can work as a replacement for fish like salmon due to its amazing flavor. However, certain factors need to be kept in mind before consuming them. Cobia has a high mercury content and should be washed thoroughly and placed on ice as soon as possible after being caught to prevent bacteria from growing. After that, the cobia should be properly cooked and then eaten.
Can you keep Cobia?
You can keep a cobia only if you have a permit from the Marine Resource Commission. This permit is known as Recreational Cobia Permit. The size limit for recreational cobia is 36 in with vessel and bag limits of one fish per person per day, or six fish per vessel per day, whichever is lesser. If you are caught without the said permit or with more than the amount allowable, you will face charges.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including the thresher shark and the catfish.
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