Strongylura notata

Common Name

Redfin Needlefish

Year Described

Poey, 1860


Dorsal Fin: 12-15
Anal Fin: 12-15
Pectoral Fin: 10-12
Pelvic Fin: 6
Vertebrae: 53-61

Very elongate and rounded in cross-section. Jaws long and thin. Maxilla behind preorbital bone 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 small (76-117 in predorsal series). Females with two gonads; males with two gonads.


Blue-green to blue-gray above and bright silvery below. Fresh specimens with bright blue or turquoise sheen. Jaws often with a yellowish wash. A thin bright turquoise lateral stripe is usually present. A dark bar present on the preopercular margin. Dorsal fin dusky with a bright red posterior margin. Caudal fin red with a turquoise middle stripe contiguous with the lateral stripe. Anal, pelvic, and pectoral fins usually with bright yellow tips.


Maximum size to 41cm SL.


A coastal species found near the surface in tropical lagoons and mangrove swamps.


Florida to the Bahamas and Cuba. Also continental waters from Mexico to Honduras.


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.

Other Notes

The northernmost population (Florida and the Bahamas) is considered a subspecies (Strongylura notata forsythia). The nominate race occurs at the other localities.