Strongylura hubbsi

Common Name

Maya Needlefish

Year Described

Collette, 1974


Dorsal Fin: 14-17
Anal Fin: 16-19
Pectoral Fin: 10-12
Pelvic Fin: 6
Vertebrae: 64-68

Very elongate and rounded in cross-section. Jaws long and thin. Maxilla exposed when jaw is closed. Dorsal and anal fins with raised anterior lobes. Caudal fin with a slightly enlarged lower lobe. Caudal peduncle with no keel. Scales tiny (216-293 in predorsal series). Females with one gonad; males with two gonads.


Back dark olive with bright silvery blue sides. A dusky lateral stripe is variably expressed. The dorsal and caudal fin is greenish, with variable amounts of red on the distal margins. The anal fin is pale. Eye golden.


Maximum size to 31cm SL.


A freshwater species found in open, clear water near the surface. Prefers areas pf slow water with little or no vegetation (Collette, 1974).


Rio Usamacinta drainage, Mexico.


Banford, H.M. , E. Bermingham & B.B. Collette. 2004. Molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of transisthmian and amphi-Atlantic needlefishes (Belonidae: Strongylura and Tylosurus): perspectives on New World marine speciation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution v. 31: 833-851.

Collette, B. B. 1974. Strongylura hubbsi, a new species of freshwater needlefish from the Usumacinta Province of Guatemala and México. Copeia 1974 (no. 3): 611-619.

Lovejoy, N.R. & B.B. Collette. 2001. Phylogenetic relationships of New World needlefishes (Teleostei: Belonidae) and the biogeography of transitions between marine and freshwater habitats. Copeia 2001 (no. 2): 324-338.

Other Notes

A purely freshwater species of Strongylura included because of its close relationship to the marine species of the genus. A sister species to the clade containing Atlantic S. marinus and Pacific S. exilis (Lovejoy & Collette, 2001, Banford et al., 2004).