Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Labridae
Etymology: Tautoga: Plural of the word "taut", an Indian Brazil name translated by Roger William from f the Narragansett, "tautauog" = sheepshead.
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; brackish; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 75 m. Subtropical; 46°N - 31°N, 81°W - 58°W
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 18 - 26.5 cm
Max length : 91.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7251); max. published weight: 11.3 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 34 years (Ref. 6486)
(total): 16 - 17;
soft rays: 7 - 8. Distinguished from Tautogolabrus adspersus which occurs in the same area and further north, by its steep, rounded dorsal head profile; stouter body; scaled lower gill cover; and the more backward location of the pelvic fins.
Western Atlantic: slightly east of Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada to South Carolina in USA; most abundant between Cape Cod and Delaware Bay.
Found close to shore on hard-bottom habitats, occasionally entering brackish water. Adult male territorial and active during the day to feed and rests in crevices at night. Prefers temperatures above 10°C. Spawning was noted in June-July in Canadian waters, but appears more protracted (April-July) in coastal waters of Virginia, USA. Feeds mainly on mussels, gastropods, other mollusks and crustaceans. This species has gained popularity as a prized food and sport fish (Ref. 6486, 4926, 41297). Investigation on the diel and seasonal activity patterns of the adult tautog in its southern range were conducted using ultrasonic telemetry (Ref. 41297).
Spawns in groups or in pairs. Pairing occurs between females and size-dominant males exhibiting strong territoriality and performing a protracted courtship (Ref. 6488). There is no histological evidence yet to prove or disprove the occurrence of hermaphroditism in this species.
Leim, A.H. and W.B. Scott, 1966. Fishes of the Atlantic coast of Canada. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can. (155):485 p. (Ref. 4926)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 1.0000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01349 (0.00817 - 0.02226), b=3.05 (2.91 - 3.19), based on LWR estimates for species & (Sub)Family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.3 ±0.47 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.09; tm=2-3; tmax=34).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High to very high vulnerability (69 of 100) .