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Tylosurus imperialis Bleeker, 1850
AGUJON NEEDLEFISH
Life   Vertebrata   Fish   Belonidae   Tylosurus

Tylosurus imperialis melanotus
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Tylosurus imperialis melanotus

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Overview
Main identification features
  • slender;beak long
  • dorsal fin 24-26
  • keel under chin
  • pectoral short
  • anal fin has 21-24 rays
Very elongate, rounded body; both jaws very prolonged, with many pointed teeth (vertical in both juveniles and adults); usually a large bony keel under chin; dorsal fin with long base, 20-24 rays, raised front lobe that is relatively low (height 7.5-9.5% of body height), in juveniles the rear section of this fin is also raised; anal fin 19-22 rays; pectorals and pelvics relatively short (8.1-12.5% and 7.1-10.0% of body length, respectively); tail deeply forked, its base with a keel; 303-405 scales before dorsal fin.

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).

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

Size: 100 cm.

Habitat: tends to live further offshore than T. crocodilus, although it is also found in

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.


Attributes
Abundance: Common.
Cites: Not listed.
Climate Zone: Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos); Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo).
Depth Range Max: 10 m.
Depth Range Min: 0 m.
Diet: bony fishes; octopus/squid/cuttlefish; Pelagic crustacea.
Eastern Pacific Range: Northern limit=25; Southern limit=3; Western limit=-115; Eastern limit=-78; Latitudinal range=22; Longitudinal range=37.
Egg Type: Benthic; Pelagic larva.
Feeding Group: Carnivore.
FishBase Habitat: Pelagic.
Global Endemism: All Pacific (West + Central + East); Indo-Pacific only (Indian + Pacific Oceans); TEP non-endemic; "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific); All species.
Habitat: Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom); Water column.
Inshore Offshore: Inshore; Offshore; In & Offshore.
IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed.
Length Max: 100 cm.
Regional Endemism: Island (s); Continent; Continent + Island (s); Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic; Eastern Pacific non-endemic; All species.
Residency: Resident.
Salinity: Marine; Marine Only.
Water Column Position: Surface; Water column only;


Links to other sites

References
  • Acero, A. and Franke, R., 2001., Peces del parque nacional natural Gorgona. En: Barrios, L. M. y M. Lopéz-Victoria (Eds.). Gorgona marina: Contribución al conocimiento de una isla única., INVEMAR, Serie Publicaciones Especiales No. 7:123-131.
  • Allen , G.R. and Robertson, D.R., 1997., An Annotated Checklist of the fishes of Clipperton Atoll, Tropical Eastern Pacific., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 45:813-843.
  • Bleeker,., 1850., Over eenige nieuwe soorten van Belone en Hemiramphus van Java., Natuurkd. Tijdschr. Neder. Indië, 1:93-95.
  • Fischer , W. , Krup , F. , Schneider , W. , Sommer , C. , Carpenter , K. E. and Niem, V. H., 1995., Guia FAO para la Identificacion de Especies de para los fines de la Pesca. Pacifico Centro-Oriental. Volumen II. Vertebrados - Parte 1., FAO2:647-1200.
  • Franke , R. and Acero P., A., 1992., Peces óseos comerciales del Parque Gorgona, Pacífico Colombiano (Osteichthyes: Elopidae, Chanidae, Exocoetidae, Belonidae y Scombridae)., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 40:117-124.
  • Lovejoy, N. R., 2000., Reinterpreting recapitulation: systematics of needlefishes and their allies (Teleostei: Beloniformes)., Evolution, 54:1349-1362.
  • Mees, G. F., 1962., A preliminary revision of the Belonidae., Zoologische Verhandelingen (Leiden), 54:1-96.
  • Robertson , D.R. and Allen, G.A., 1996., Zoogeography of the shorefish fauna of Clipperton Atoll., Coral Reefs, 15:121-131.

Acknowledgements

I thank Ashley MacDonald and John Pickering, University of Georgia, for technical support in building this page.


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