The Atlantic tripletail (or Tripletail) is given because of the fish's three rounded fins: dorsal, caudal, and anal, all of which are covered in scales. It is a warm-water marine fish typically attracted to floating objects like buoys, channel markers, and floating debris. They are well known for mimicking these objects, floating just beneath the surface with one side exposed. They have a head profile that concaves as the fish ages and a compressed but deep body, with small eyes and a large mouth. Juvenile Atlantic tripletails are colored a mottled yellow, brown, and black with white pectoral fins and a white margin on the caudal fin. Adults are jet black and/or have varied mottled color patterns ranging from dark brown to reddish brown, often with a tint of gray.
Atlantic tripletails are found coastally in most, but not all, tropical and subtropical seas. They are semi-migratorial and pelagic. Normally solitary, they have been known to form schools. Females can be slightly larger than males. Young fishes can be found under algae, in or near shipwrecks, around beams or supports and jetties.
Bays, sounds and estuaries during the summer. In the Gulf of Mexico, adults are usually found in open water, but can also be found in passes, inlets, and bays near river mouths.
Atlantic tripletail are found from Massachusetts and Bermuda to Argentina, the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, from Madeira Island to the Gulf of Guinea, the eastern Pacific from Costa Rica to Peru, and the western Pacific from Japan to Fiji and Tuvalu.