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Species: Strongylura marina, Atlantic Needlefish

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preopercle edge - short dark bar
top jaw exposed at rear
A 16-20
center nape scales 213+

Strongylura marina (Walbaum, 1792)

Atlantic Needlefish

Body very elongate, rounded; extremely elongate jaws form a long beak, with numerous needle-like teeth; rear of top jaw-bone exposed when mouth is closed; no gill rakers; fins without spines; low lobes at front of dorsal and anal fins; dorsal 14-17 rays; anal fin 16-20 rays; pectoral 10-12; small, rounded pelvic fins; no keel on round tail base; tail fin slightly concave; operculum completely scaled; 213-304 scales on center of nape before dorsal fin; only right gonad present.

Blue-green above, silvery below; black bar behind eyes not extending below midline of eye.

Reaches 73 cm (reports to 1220 cm).

Habitat: inshore areas and mangrove lagoons; enters freshwater.

Depth: 0-5 m.

Massachusetts to southern Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • No pelagic phase
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 73
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 5