Freshwater hatchetfish

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the freshwater hatchetfishes of the Amazon. For the marine fishes of the family Sternoptychidae, see marine hatchetfish.
Freshwater hatchetfishes
Carnegiellamarthae.jpg
Blackwinged hatchetfish, Carnegiella marthae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Characiformes
Superfamily: Characoidea
Family: Gasteropelecidae

The freshwater hatchetfishes are a family, Gasteropelecidae, of ray-finned fish. The common hatchetfish is the most popular member among fish keeping hobbyists. The family includes three genera: Carnegiella (four species), Gasteropelecus (three species), and Thoracocharax (two species).

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Freshwater hatchetfishes originate from Panama and South America (though they are absent from Chile). They tend to be an upper-level fish, often swimming directly below the surface of the water.

Flight[edit]

The most obvious trait of the freshwater hatchetfish is their enormously enlarged sternal region. This is accompanied by large pectoral fins and "extraordinarily powerful" associated muscles which account for up to one-quarter of their total body weight. "Quick beats of the pectoral fins" allow hatchetfish to "lift themselves half out of the water and glide along the surface ... Some species can even leave the water for short stretches"[1] Because of this ability to fly and tendency to jump, aquaria used to keep hatchetfish should have a tightly sealed cover to prevent these fish from escaping.

Genera[edit]

The genera in this family are:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frey, Hans (1961). Illustrated Dictionary of Tropical Fishes. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications Inc. pp. 354–5. ISBN 0-87666-157-6. 

Additional reading[edit]