Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

Español  Contact

Species: Eques lanceolatus, Jackknife-fish, Jackknife Drum

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

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

Eques lanceolatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Jackknife-fish, Jackknife Drum

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.

High Resolution Map Download

Species Data Create Report Export as Word File Export as Excel File
  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Corals
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 30
Depth Range Min
  • 2
Depth Range Max
  • 230