Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Tetrapturus angustirostris, Shortbill spearfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

body very elongate, very compressed
nape low
short spear
D height ~ body height
anus well before A
pelvic =2X pectoral
pectoral: not rigid, can fold against side, pointed
LL 1 straight line

Tetrapturus angustirostris Tanaka, 1915

Shortbill spearfish

Body very elongate, very compressed; bill very short, usually less than 15% of TL;  adults with small teeth; nape not very high; high front dorsal rays form triangular peak, most of remaining part of fin relatively high, height of anterior lobe exceeding greatest body depth; first dorsal fin rays 45-50; second dorsal fin rays 6-7; first anal fin rays 12-15; second anal fin rays 6-8; pectoral rays 17-19, fin narrow and short (< 15% of body length), moveable, can be pressed against body;  pelvic fins slender, filamentous, about twice the length of the pectorals; anus well before origin of anal fin; lateral line single, obvious; body covered with small, triangular scales.

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

Size: to 200 cm; IGFA record 36.8 kg.

Habitat: oceanic, pelagic.

Depth: 0-1830 m.

Tropical and temperate Indo-Pacific, entering eastern Atlantic (via Cape of Good Hope) but not spawning there. California to the mouth of the Gulf of California to Peru and the oceanic islands.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Mid Water
  • Water column only
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Pelagic crustacea
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Data
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • All Pacific (West + Central + East)
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
  • Indo-Pacific only (Indian + Pacific Oceans)
  • TEP non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Island (s)
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • All species
  • Continent
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Data deficient
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 200
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 1830