There are two species of Megalops, the (Megalops cyprinoides) and the (Megalops Atlanticus). The later is found on the western Atlantic coast from Virginia to Brazil, throughout the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, throughout the Caribbean. It is also found along the eastern Atlantic coast from Senegal to Angola. Megalops cyprinoides is found along the eastern African coast, throughout southeast Asia, Japan, Tahiti, and Australia.
Both species are found in both salt and freshwater habitats usually ascending rivers to access freshwater marshes. They are able to survive in brackish water and water with varying pH levels as well. They manage to survivie in habitats with low dissolved O2 content due to their swim bladders which they use primarily to breathe with. The habitat of the Megalops varies greatly with the developmental stage they are in. Stage one larvae are usually found in clear, warm, oceanic waters relatively close to the surface. Stage two and three larvae are found in salt marshes, tidal pools, creeks, and rivers. The habitats are characteristically warm, shallow, dark bodies of water with sandy mud bottoms. It is quite common for Megalops to ascend rivers into freshwater. As they progress from the juvenile stage to adulthood, they move back to the open waters of the ocean, though many remain in freshwater habitats.
Tarpons grow to about 5 to 8 ft. long and weigh 80 to 280 lbs. They have dorsal and anal soft rays and have a bluish or greenish back. They possess distinctive lateral lines and have shiny silvery scales that cover most of the organism except for the head. They possess large eyes with adipose eyelids and a broad mouth with a prominent lower jaw that juts out farther than the rest of the face.
The Tarpon is considered one of the great salt water game fish for its size and spectacular leaps. The Tarpon has a hard bony plate near its mouth making it a most difficult fish to hook. Tarpons are bony fish and their meat is not desirable so most Tarpons are released after they are caught.