Keeltail needlefish

Platybelone argalus

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.
Keeltail needlefish Platybelone argalus subsp. platyura. Needlefish are slender fish, in this sp. it can reach 50 cm long. They have a single dorsal fin, placed far back on the body, almost opposite to the anal fin. Their most distinctive feature is their long, narrow beak, which bears multiple sharp teeth. The keeltail needlefish's top jaw is also smaller than the lower one. It is most recognized by the large, flat keel-like structures running on either side of the tail. Usually seen just below the surface in shallow waters near the shoreline of Lankayan (Sabah, Borneo). Fall,Geotagged,Keeltail needlefish,Malaysia,Platybelone argalus

Appearance

Keeltail needlefish, like all needlefish, closely resemble North American freshwater gars . It is most recognized by the large, flat keel-like structures running on either side of the tail. 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, with a lateral line running ventral to it, and grow up to 50 cm long
The keeltail needlefish's top jaw is also smaller than the lower one.

Naming

There are currently seven recognized sub-species though it has been proposed that several of them be elevated to the status of full species:
⤷  ''Platybelone argalus annobonensis'' Collette & Parin, 1970
⤷  ''Platybelone argalus argalus''
⤷  ''Platybelone argalus lovii''
⤷  ''Platybelone argalus platura''
⤷  ''Platybelone argalus platyura''
⤷  ''Platybelone argalus pterura''
⤷  ''Platybelone argalus trachura''

Distribution

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. 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. Keeltail needle fish have also been found around the Arabian Peninsula, in the Red sea and Persian gulf They usually occur offshore and are abundant around islands. Some of the most recognized subspecies are ''Platybelone argalus platura'', most common in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf;''Platybelone argalus platyura'', known from the rest of the Indo-pacific; and ''Platybelone argalus argalus'' from the Atlantic.

They school in sheltered parts of reefs, 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.

Habitat

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. 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. Keeltail needle fish have also been found around the Arabian Peninsula, in the Red sea and Persian gulf They usually occur offshore and are abundant around islands. Some of the most recognized subspecies are ''Platybelone argalus platura'', most common in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf;''Platybelone argalus platyura'', known from the rest of the Indo-pacific; and ''Platybelone argalus argalus'' from the Atlantic.

They school in sheltered parts of reefs, 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.

References:

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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassActinopterygii
OrderBeloniformes
FamilyBelonidae
GenusPlatybelone
SpeciesP. argalus
Photographed in
Malaysia