Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Beloniformes
(Needle fishes) > Belonidae
Etymology: Ablennes: Greek, a = without + Greek, blennos = mucus (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; brackish; reef-associated; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 3 m (Ref. 58047). Subtropical; 38°N - 37°S, 180°W - 180°E
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 140 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637); common length : 70.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9279); max. published weight: 4.8 kg (Ref. 40637)
soft rays: 24 - 28;
Vertebrae: 86 - 93. Dark bluish dorsally, silvery white ventrally with black blotches on middle of body (Ref. 5317). Body greatly compressed laterally; anterior parts of dorsal and anal fins with high falcate lobes. Pectoral fins falcate; about 12-14 prominent dark vertical bars on body; juveniles and adults have an elevated black lobe in the posterior part of the dorsal fin.
Worldwide distribution in tropical and warm temperate waters. Eastern Atlantic: Cape Verde and Dakar to Moçamedes, Angola (Ref. 5757); ranging further south to Namibia (Ref. 12484). Western Atlantic: Chesapeake Bay (USA), Bermuda, and northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil (Ref. 7251). Throughout the Indian Ocean. Western Pacific: off coasts and islands from southern Japan through the East Indies to Australia (Ref. 9682). Reported from Tuvalu (Ref. 12690). Eastern Pacific: Mexico to Peru. Entire Caribbean, Antilles and South American coast to Rio de Janeiro (Ref. 26938).
Inhabits neritic and oceanic waters but more often found near islands (Ref. 5213). Found in estuaries (Ref. 26340), and coastal rivers (Ref. 33587). Sometimes forming large schools (Ref. 5217). Feeds mainly on small fishes (Ref. 9279). Oviparous (Ref. 205). Eggs may be found attached to objects in the water by filaments on the egg's surface (Ref. 205). Since the jaws are frequently broken, the maximum length is given as body length excluding head and caudal fin. Usually caught with the help of artificial lights (Ref. 9279). Marketed fresh and salted; smoked or frozen (Ref. 9987). Market limited due to the green-colored flesh (Ref. 5217). In females, only left gonad is developed, and in males the right gonad is small or absent (Ref. 26938).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Collette, B.B., 1999. Belonidae. Needlefishes. p. 2151-2161. In K.E. Carpenter and V.H. Niem (eds.) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 4. Bony fishes part 2 (Mugilidae to Carangidae). FAO, Rome. (Ref. 9682)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 1.0000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00100 (0.00051 - 0.00198), b=3.10 (2.92 - 3.28), based on LWR estimates for species & Family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.5 ±0.80 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Assuming tmax>3; K=0.6).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate vulnerability (40 of 100) .