Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Ablennes hians, Barred Needlefish, Flat Needlefish

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very compressed
flank: ~12 black bars
tail base compressed, no keel
C very concave



Ablennes hians (Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1846)

Flat Needlefish, Barred Needlefish

Body strongly compressed; elongate jaws form a relatively short beak, with numerous needle-like teeth; no gill rakers; fins without spines; dorsal and anal fins with long concave front lobes; dorsal fin with large, dark rear lobe, with 23-26 rays; anal fin 24-28; pectorals concave 13-15; tail base compressed, without a keel; tail fin strongly concave; 470-525 scales in front of dorsal fin.

Dark bluish above, silvery white below; ~12 black bars or vertically elongated blotches on sides.

Size: to 120 cm.

Habitat: inshore to oceanic pelagic.

Depth: 0-12 m.

Circumtropical; Massachusetts to Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • In & Offshore
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-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)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 120
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 12