Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Belonesox belizanus, Pike Killifish, Pike Topminnow

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jaws form long beak, lower jaw projects
teeth = canines

Belonesox belizanus Kner, 1860

Pike Killifish, Pike Topminnow

Head and body cylindrical, moderately slender, compressed at rear; front nostril not tubular; covering of eye not continuous with skin of head; jaws greatly enlarged and extended in a long pointed beak, mouth slightly oblique, not reaching eye, lower jaw projecting, top jaw protractile; teeth are canines, outer series conical, curved backwards and smaller than inner series; 1 dorsal fin with short base, at rear of body, 8-9; anal fin 8-10, origin distinctly before dorsal fin origin; pelvic origin well behind pectoral base, near anal fin; pectorals high on flank; 3rd anal ray unbranched; anal fin modified in male to form an elongate sex organ; tail fin bluntly straight to rounded; scales smooth and small, 52-63 lateral rows.

Brownish above, whitish below; a series of small black spots along the flank behind the pectoral fin, plus a round black spot at the end of the tail base; fins transparent. Young with a thick black stripe from eye to base of tail fin.

Reaches 21.7 cm ( females almost twice as long as males).

Lives in coastal fresh to strong brackish water; tolerates saltwater.

Depth range 0-1 m.

The southern Gulf of Mexico to S Costa Rica; introduced to and now common from central western Florida to the Florida Everglades.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Hypersaline
  • Non Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mangrove
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • GC endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 21.7
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 1