Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Elops affinis, Pacific machete, Pacific ladyfish

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large eye
D origin over pelvic origin
mouth opens at front
bony plate between lower jaws
small scales

Elops affinis Regan, 1909

Pacific ladyfish, Pacific machete

Body long, slender; mouth long, opens at the front and ends past the eye; teeth small, granular, on jaws, roof of mouth, tongue and base of gill arches; gill rakers (excluding rudiments) 10-11 + 16-20; an elongate bony plate under the chin between the lower jaws; with a single dorsal fin on the middle of the back, 21-25 rays;  pelvic fins low on sides, directly under dorsal; pectorals 16-17, under the body just behind the gill openings; anal rays 14-17; tail fin strongly forked; lateral line is straight and complete; all fins without spines; scales small, ~ 100-120 on lateral line.

Generally silvery with bluish reflections; head yellowish; lower lobe of tail fin with white stripe.

Size: reaches about 91 cm.

Inhabits shallow inshore waters, particularly in bays, lagoons, and mangrove areas; enters rivers.

Depth: 0-10 m.

Southern California to northern Peru.

Closely related to E. saurus of the western Atlantic.

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  • Freshwater
  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Near Bottom
  • Water column only
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Freshwater
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Data deficient
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 91
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 10