Coconaco Snapper The Barred Pargo , Pagrus auriga, is a species of sea bream native to the Atlantic Ocean. It belongs to the family Sparidae. It grows to three feet in length but catching one this size is virtually an impossible feat since the species is becoming rare and it prefers depths of up to 100 feet “in the rocks with caves.” Getting them out of the rocks can be even more of a challenge as they have been caught by hooking just their tails, only having their bodies protruding from rocks.
It has a small mouth with sharp teeth and a large round eye, but the most noticeable part of its face is surely its dented head. The Barred Pargo's bars are quite pronounced upon collection but fade quickly over time, as illustrated in the photos below.
This species can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean in Cuba, Curaçao, Grand Cayman, and the Gulf of Mexico. It also lives throughout the Caribbean Sea and can be found as far south as Brazil's waters.
This species is a deepwater fish, inhabiting marine caves at depths of 100 feet or more. This puts it out of reach from its predators, including humans. The Barred Pargo does not have any commercial value, which also protects it from any major harm.
This species is considered to be one of the world's rarest fish, with many experts claiming that its numbers are no more than 100 individuals spread throughout the oceans. They are virtually never seen alive, as they prefer to stay hidden in their deepwater caves.
The first recorded appearance of this fish was in 1870 by the French naturalist Francis de Laporte, who claimed to have seen this species in Cuba. The fish was not clearly defined as a new species however until 1949 when it was documented again by scientist J.C. Hureau.
The only known reports of the Barred Pargo are from depths greater than 100 feet off the coast of Cuba and Curaçao. This may be due to the fact that most ichthyologists plume-dive for deepwater fish, an extremely difficult task considering how they are usually hidden in caves or crevices.