Latin name

Tylosurus acus

Other names

Agujón Needlefish, marao isleño.


Vertebrae: 90-95. The canines of the upper jaw point straight down rather than forward. Both jaws relatively long and slender. Posterior rays and dorsal fin short, not exceeding the diameter of the eye.  Keel-jawed needlefish have longer jaws with more teeth and narrower caudal lobes than T. crocodilus. 

Features of fish fins

Dorsal spines: 0; dorsal soft rays: 24-27; anal spines: 0; anal soft rays: 22-24. Anterior part of dorsal fin with low lobe, 10.5-13.3 times body length. Caudal fin deeply forked. Pectoral and ventral fins short.

Fish colouring

Distinct black lateral keel on the tail peduncle. Keel-jawed needlefish have a slender, elongated, rounded body with a dark blue upper body, silver sides and a white belly. They also have a light blue stripe along the sides. Juveniles have a raised black blade on the back of the dorsal fin.


Widespread in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific Oceans. Indo-Pacific: From East Africa to the Central and South Pacific. East central Pacific: Oceanic islands such as Revillagigedo, Clipperton and Cocos.


Marine, freshwater, brackish, reef-associated, oceanodromous species. Depth range 0-1 m. Tropical; 32°N to 28°S.


Reach a maximum length of 1 m (3 ft 3 in). The International Game Fish Association world record was 1.47 kg (3 lb 4 oz).


Found in marine and coastal waters.

Food and feeding habits

It feeds mainly on small fish. 


Egg-laying. Eggs can be found attached to objects in the water by antennae.


Commercial. Once on the hook, they like to make crazy short jerks. They are bait snatchers, damaging fishing lines and weakening them with their many teeth. 

Relationship with a person

It is mainly sold fresh. The flesh is of good quality. 

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Beloniformes
Family Belonidae
Genus Tylosurus
Species T. acus
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years No information
Maximum body weight, kg 1,47
Maximum length, cm 100
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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Keel-jawed needlefish

Tags: keel jawed needlefish