Platybelone argalus

Common Name

Keeltail Needlefish

Year Described

Lesueur, 1821


Dorsal Fin: 12-15
Anal Fin: 17-20
Pectoral Fin: 10-12
Pelvic Fin: 6
Vertebrae: 70-74

Very elongate and rounded in cross-section. Eye large. Jaws long and thin. Dorsal and anal fins with raised anterior lobes. Caudal fin with a slightly enlarged lower lobe. Caudal peduncle flattened with a strong lateral keel. Gill rakers present. Scales small (107-128 in predorsal series).


Bright silvery, becoming bluish dorsally and olive near the midline. A dusky to blue stripe variably present laterally. Fins transparent.


Maximum size to 38cm SL. Common up to 30cm SL.


Pelagic in offshore and inshore habitats. More commonly inshore at insular localities.


Virginia to the southern Caribbean, including all islands. Also Bermuda.


Collette, B.B. 2002. Belonidae (pp 1104-1113). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 2: Bony fishes part 1 (Acipenseridae-Grammatidae). FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5.