Keeltail needlefish

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Keeltail needlefish
Keeltail needlefish.png
Platybelone argalus argalus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Beloniformes
Family: Belonidae
Genus: Platybelone
Fowler, 1919
Species: P. argalus
Binomial name
Platybelone argalus
(Lesueur, 1821)
Subspecies

See text

The keeltail needlefish, sometimes called the keeled needlefish, is a tropical fish of the family Belonidae. It was described by the French naturalist Charles Alexandre Lesueur in 1821.

Description[edit]

Keeltail needlefish, like all needlefish, closely resemble North American freshwater gars (family Lepisosteidae). It is most recognized by the large, flat keel-like structures running on either side of the tail.[1] They have 12 to 15 rays on their dorsal fins, and 17 to 20 rays on their anal fin. Keeltail needlefish have gill-rakers, their caudal peduncles have lateral keels,[2] with a lateral line running ventral to it, and grow up to 50 cm long [3] The keeltail needlefish's top jaw is also smaller than the lower one.[1]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Keeltail needlefish are found in the western Atlantic ocean between North Carolina and Brazil, this includes the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean sea.[4] In the Indian ocean, they are known off of east Africa,with range continuing into the Pacific reaching the Hawaiian islands and continuing north to the Ogasawara Islands.[5] Keeltail needle fish have also been found around the Arabian Peninsula, in the Red sea and Persian gulf [5] They usually occur offshore and are abundant around islands.[6] Some of the most recognized subspecies are Platybelone argalus platura, most common in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf;[5]Platybelone argalus platyura, known from the rest of the Indo-pacific; and Platybelone argalus argalus from the Atlantic.[5]

They school in sheltered parts of reefs,[7] feeding mainly on smaller fish. Keeltail needlefish are egg-laying, attaching their eggs to floating objects with specialized tendril-like structures on the egg's surface.[8]

P. argalus range map, with each major sub-species highlighted.

Subspecies[edit]

There are currently seven recognized sub-species though it has been proposed that several of them be elevated to the status of full species:[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b REEF FISH Identification FLORIDA CARIBBEAN BAHAMAS; Humann, Paul and Ned Deloach; New World Publications Inc., Jacksonville, Fl; pp. 58-59
  2. ^ "Fishbase.org entry on Keeltail needlefish". Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  3. ^ Claro, R., 1994. Características generales de la ictiofauna. p. 55-70. In R. Claro (ed.) Ecología de los peces marinos de Cuba. Instituto de Oceanología Academia de Ciencias de Cuba and Centro de Investigaciones de Quintana Roo.
  4. ^ Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray, 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 354 p.
  5. ^ a b c d "mcr.lternet.edu entry on Keeltail needlefish". Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  6. ^ Cervigón, F., R. Cipriani, W. Fischer, L. Garibaldi, M. Hendrickx, A.J. Lemus, R. Márquez, J.M. Poutiers, G. Robaina and B. Rodriguez, 1992. Fichas FAO de identificación de especies para los fines de la pesca. Guía de campo de las especies comerciales marinas y de aquas salobres de la costa septentrional de Sur América. FAO, Rome. 513 p. Preparado con el financiamento de la Comisión de Comunidades Europeas y de NORAD.
  7. ^ Kuiter, R.H. and T. Tonozuka 2001 Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 1. Eels- Snappers, Muraenidae - Lutjanidae. Zoonetics, Australia. 302 p.
  8. ^ Breder, C.M. and D.E. Rosen, 1966. Modes of reproduction in fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey. 941 p.
  9. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Platybelone argalus" in FishBase. June 2012 version.

External links[edit]