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Species: Equetus lanceolatus, Jack-knife fish

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3 oblique bars, no stripes
D 47-55
fins pale, no spots
juv: last bar D to C; line on snout; pectoral clear
pectoral 15-16

Equetus lanceolatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Jack-knife fish

Body oblong, deep at front, tapering to a thin tail base; head low; snout overhangs horizontal mouth; teeth in villiform band, those in outer row of upper jaw slightly enlarged; chin with 5 pores, no barbels; snout with 10 pores; 14-18 short, stout gill rakers; preoperculum nearly smooth edged; top corner of gill opening notched; dorsal fin with long base, deep notch between spiny and soft parts, XII-XIV + I, 47-55, spiny part very high (longer than head); anal fin with short base, II (2nd strong), 6; pectoral rays 15-16; tail fin with blunt angular point; lower half of second dorsal fin covered with a thick scale sheath; the lateral line extends to the center of the end of the tail fin.

Body whitish, with 3 broad, white-edged black oblique bars, 1 through eye, 1 from nape to pelvic fin and 1 from the 1st dorsal that angles back to form a stripe that runs through the tail; fins pale, without spots. Small juveniles body white to yellowish, edges of black bars yellow, last body bar through dorsal to tail fin; a thin black line on tip of snout; pectoral fin clear.

Maximum size to 30 cm.

Inhabits sandy and muddy bottoms (where nocturnal feeding occurs) and coastal reefs.

Depth: 2-230 m.

South Carolina to Brazil.


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Salinity
  • Marine
  • Marine Only
Inshore/Offshore
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
Habitat
  • Corals
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Mud
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Rocks
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
Diet
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Extends South of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
Residency
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
CITES
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 30
Depth Range Min
  • 2
Depth Range Max
  • 230