The most characteristic features of needlefish are elongated upper and lower jaws with numerous needle-like teeth. The upper jaw is shorter than the lower jaw, but the lower jaw is shorter in two species. This species has a slender, elongated body, silvery on the sides and bluish or dark green on the back, as well as fine scales and a wide mouth. Compared to other, usually smaller members of the family, the houndfish has a relatively short, powerful beak.
One of the most widely distributed species is the houndfish (Tylosurus crocodilus crocodilus), which is found almost worldwide in tropical and warm temperate waters. It is common in the western Atlantic Ocean, from New Jersey southward through the Caribbean to Brazil. The Atlantic needlefish is found in the western Atlantic Ocean and extends from the Gulf of Maine to Brazil. It is absent from the Bahamas and Antilles.
Most beagle fish live in tropical seas, some inhabit the cooler waters of temperate regions, and some occasionally wander into fresh water. The Atlantic needlefish (Strongylura marina) lives in coastal areas and lagoons with mangroves, and also enters fresh water.
Hound fish average less than 2 feet in length, but sometimes reach 4-5 feet. The world record for all-tackle catches is 71⁄2 pounds (the record for Mexican needlefish is 21 pounds 12 ounces). Atlantic needlefish (Strongylura marina) is a smaller species. The Atlantic needlefish grows to 31 inches and can weigh just over 3 pounds.
Life history and Behavior
They are found singly or in small groups, readily bite on artificial lures, and are fun to catch with a rod and reel. Needlefish tend to skip (or jump) on the surface when hooked, when alert and when attracted by lights at night.
Food and feeding habits
|Conservation status||Least Concern|
|Life span, years||No information|
|Maximum body weight, kg||2.3|
|Maximum length, cm||111|
|Sailing speed, m/s||No information|
|Threat to people||Edible|
|Way of eating||Predator|