Animal Update: Tomtates

Five tomtates were recently added to Atlantic Coral Reef!

Published February 28, 2018

Tomtates are fish that are found in the western Atlantic Ocean, from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. They inhabit either rocky bottoms in deeper waters or coral reefs in shallow waters, and are tolerant of colder waters.

School of tomatates

These fish are a blend of silver and white with a yellow stripe across the length of their thin bodies. They can grow to be up to 10 inches in length.  

Like many other species of fishes, tomtates spend a lot of time in groups around coral reefs.  They are bottom feeders, eating worms, snails, crabs, shrimp and amphipods. Predators of tomtates include larger fish such as mackerel, snapper and grouper. 

Tomtates produce a distinctive grunting noise by grinding their pharyngeal teeth, which are found in their throats.  

Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes updates!


Previous Post

Featured Stories

Humpback whale Help Preserve the Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act has supported work that has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the species it has protected. That work is now under threat.

Read the full story

Atlantic puffin chick born at the National Aquarium Meet Our Trio of Puffin Chicks!

We are excited to welcome three new Atlantic puffin chicks to our Sea Cliffs exhibit!

Read the full story

Related Stories

Meet Our Trio of Puffin Chicks!

Published August 09, 2018

Sawfish Need Love, Too!

Published August 03, 2018