This common food fish is regularly trawled from Bay of Plenty southwards in depths down to one hundred and fifty metres on muddy bottoms, although smaller sizes enter shallow and rocky ground.
Its food is mostly shrimps, small crabs, mud worms and other small animals including brittlestars.
It is a silvery white fish with sometimes a brassy flush when alive, and there is a prominent dark "saddle" mark behind the head. The mouth is small, somewhat turned down, and the pectoral fin has one long ray extending back beyond the vent. Only the maori name in use here.
The term Jackass fish is used in Australia. A popular table species, tarakihi are targeted by boat fishers using small hooks and shellfish, squid and small cut baits.
They may be caught over relatively shallow reefs in the north during winter and are also a common catch in more southern waters during the summer.
- © Fairfax NZ News