Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Tetrapturus pfluegeri, Longbill Spearfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

elongate, slender, very compressed
sword ~head
nape low
D lobe = / > body depth, rest of fin high
D & A front: rounded
pectoral wide, long, rounded
pelvic = / > pectoral
D & body: no spots/bars
anus before A by ~A height
LL: 1 obvious straight line

Tetrapturus pfluegeri Robins & de Sylva, 1963

Longbill Spearfish

Body very elongate and very compressed; bill rounded in cross section, moderately long (length usually at least equal to head); adults with small teeth; nape not very high; 1st dorsal long based, 45-50, front lobe rounded, its height equal to or slightly > body depth, rest of fin remains about equal height along most of its length, close to 2nd dorsal, 6-7; first anal fin rays 13-17, its lobe rounded; second anal fin rays 6-8; pectoral fin long (>18% of body length) wide, rounded, moveable, can be pressed against body; pelvic fins slender, filamentous, ~same length as to longer than pectoral; 2 keels on side of tail base; tail fin large, strongly forked; anus well before origin of anal fin, that distance ~same as height of front lobe of anal; lateral line single, an obvious straight line; body covered with densely imbedded, small, triangular scales that have 2-5 points.

Dark blue dorsally, blue blotched with brown laterally, and silvery white ventrally, without dots or bars; first dorsal fin blue-black, unspotted; remaining fins dark brown.

Size: to about 250 cm, at least 45 kg.

Habitat: oceanic, pelagic, chiefly offshore.

Depth: 0-240 m?

Tropical and temperate Atlantic; New York to northern Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • In & Offshore
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
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)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 250
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 240