Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Tylosurus acus melanotus, Agujon needlefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

beak long, curved up
D 24-26; A: 21-24
C deeply forked
+/- keel under chin
pectoral short

Tylosurus acus melanotus (Bleeker, 1850)

Agujon needlefish

Elongate, relatively slender, rounded body; both jaws form a very prolonged, beak that is relatively long, slender and upcurved, with many long, pointed teeth (vertical in both juveniles and adults); usually a large bony keel under chin; dorsal fin with long base, 24-26 rays, raised front lobe is relatively low (height 7.5-9.5% of body height), in juveniles the rear section of this fin is also raised; anal fin 21-24 rays; pectorals and pelvics relatively short (8.1-12.5% and 7.1-10.0% of body length, respectively); tail fin deeply forked, lower lobe much longer; tail base with a keel; 303-405 scales before dorsal fin.

Dark blue upper body, silvery white below; a blue stripe along the flank; rear elevated lobe of dorsal fin black in juveniles.

Size: 140 cm.

Habitat: offshore and coastal waters.

Depth: 0-10 m.

An Indo-Pacific subspecies found in our region at the offshore islands (the Revillagigedos, Clipperton, Cocos and Malpelo) as well as at the Tres Marias Islands (Mexico), Isla Gorgona (Colombia), and continental Costa Rica and Panama.

Note: Differs from T. pacificus in usually having a distinct keel under the tip of the chin ( absent in T. pacificus) 24-26 dorsal fin rays (21-23 in T. pacificus), 21-24 anal rays (18-21 in T. pacificus) and in having 89-92 vertebrae (vs 74-80 in T. Pacificus).

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • In & Offshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Water column only
  • Surface
  • Water column
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • No Data
  • Pelagic crustacea
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Benthic
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
  • Indo-Pacific only (Indian + Pacific Oceans)
  • All Pacific (West + Central + East)
  • TEP non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species
  • Continent
  • Island (s)
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 140
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 10