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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Slender Needlefish
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order : Beloniformes
Family : BELONIDAE
Species : Strongylura leiura
Maximum Length : around 1 metre

The Slender, or Banded, Needlefish inhabits coastal waters including mangrove inlets, and near-shore marine areas with a sandy bottom. Juveniles primarily inhabit the safer waters of mangroves.

Its body is elongate, reaching a maximum of around one metre, and its jaws are long, narrow, sharply pointed and lined with sharp teeth.

Its dorsal surface and upper flanks are greenish, and its lower flanks silvery or white. The short, emarginate tail and the dorsal fin is yellow. As is typical with other fishes in the Belonidae family, the short dorsal fin is positioned far back, virtually above the anal fin.

Needlefish are predatory and feed primarily on other fish as well as prawns and other free-swimming invertebrates.

The Slender Needlefish ranges from East Africa and the Indian Ocean through most of Southeast Asia to northern Australia and the islands of the western Pacific Ocean.


Figs 1 and 2 : This specimen, seen in mangrove habitat at Pulau Ubin, Singapore, measured around 50 cm.


References : F3