Atlantic needlefish

Strongylura marina

Family Belonidae - needlefishes

Distinguishing
Characteristics
Body elongate, round; upper and lower jaws extended into long narrow beaks, jaws about equal in length (lower slightly longer than upper), many sharp teeth; color bluish green above, silvery below; bluish stripe along sides; dorsal and anal fins situated on posterior half of body; lobes of dorsal and anal fins slightly elongate; pelvic fin positioned about half-way between head and tail; no keel (ridge) on caudal peduncle; on back between head and dorsal fin are 2 narrow dark lines along side thicker more diffuse line.
Similar Species
Atlantic needlefish differ from other needlefish by its round body (not compressed), no caudal keel, no prominent markings or coloration on head (possibly a dusky spot on opercle in young fish).
Habitat
Gulf and bay, live and feed at the surface
Maximum Size
111 cm (3 1/2 ft), common to 60 cm (23 1/2 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. 14-17; A. 16-20 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
Comments
State size/bag limits