We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Butterfish?

By Lumara Lee
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The butterfish, or peprilus triacanthus, is a schooling fish with an oval body that roughly resembles a flounder. This small fish inhabits the waters along the Atlantic coast of North America between Florida and Newfoundland. Its body is mainly grayish blue and silver, and is usually covered with an abundance of dark, irregular spots. The butterfish grows rapidly and is sometimes able to reproduce when it is one year old. Most specimens have an average life span of around 3 years.

Butterfish are generally 6 to 9 inches (15 to 23 centimeters) long, with a few reaching a length of 12 inches (30.5 centimeters). They migrate as the water temperature fluctuates, swimming south and farther from land during the coldest months, then returning north and closer to shore in the summer. Butterfish are often seen in schools of 50 to 100 fish, and spend most of their time near the surface of the water, feeding on small fish, annelid worms, and crustaceans such as shrimp and krill. They prefer depths of less than 180 feet (55 meters) and water temperatures between 40°F and 74°F (4.4°C to 23°C). Butterfish experience a high mortality rate, and their many natural predators include the hammerhead shark, swordfish, flounder, haddock, and bluefish.

They spawn once a year between June and August, and most egg production occurrs in July. Their eggs are transparent and round, with a diameter of 0.7 to 0.8 inch (1.8 to 2 centimeters). They hatch as larvae approximately 0.78 inch (2 millimeters) long. The young butterfish often swim among the tentacles of jellyfish for protection, and sometimes as many as 15 young are protected by a single jellyfish. They appear to have a natural immunity to the toxin in jellyfish tentacles.

Butterfish have a rounded snout, large eyes, and a forked tail. Their dorsal and anal fins are almost the same length. They have small, soft scales that shed easily when touched, and their meat has few bones.

Also known as escobar, sheepshead, and dollarfish, the butterfish is used as both food for human consumption and as bait for larger fish. It has been commercially fished in the United States since the 19th century. The fish was first used as a fertilizer until people discovered it was good enough to eat.

Its fat content makes the meat moist, tender, and delicious. The fish can be purchased fresh, frozen, or smoked. It can be baked, poached, grilled, or fried in a pan. This fish is nutritious as well as tasty, and provides vitamin B6, selenium, potassium, and niacin.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.