Cheilopogon furcatus

Common Name

Spotfin Flyingfish

Year Described

Mitchill, 1815


Dorsal Fin: 12-14
Anal Fin: 8-11
Pectoral Fin: 14-17
Gill Rakers: 18-25 (first arch)
Predorsal Scales: 26-33
Transverse Scale Rows: 7-9
Vertebrae: 43-46

Body elongate with a rectangular cross-section. Head length 2.8-3.1 in SL. Eye diameter 2.8-3.1 in HL. Jaw teeth conical; not conspicuous. Lower jaw slightly longer than upper. Palatine teeth absent. Pectoral fins long (1.3-1.5 in SL) with first ray unbranched, fin reaching to caudal fin base. Pelvic fins long (2.7-3.3 in SL), reaching well beyond anal fin origin, with pelvic origin nearer to anal fin than pectoral fin base. Dorsal fin relatively low (longest ray more than 10 times in SL). Origin of anal fin well behind that of dorsal fin (under 5-7th dorsal ray). Caudal fin forked with the lower lobe longer than upper. Lateral line low on side. Pectoral branch of lateral line absent. Juveniles with elongated barbels (lost at 11-18cm SL) and expanded pelvic fins.


Dark blue-black above, abruptly paler below. Pectoral fins dark blue with a pale median band (almost reaching upper margin of fin) and a pale posterior margin. Dorsal fin gray. Anal fin transparent. Pelvic fin pale. Caudal fin dark to pale gray.


Maximum size to 27cm SL.


Pelagic over deep waters. Planktivorous with demersal eggs.


Oceanic: the Gulf Stream to the Gulf of Mexico and the central Caribbean Sea, and the open Atlantic off Brazil.


Parin, N.V. 2002. Exocoetidae (pp 1116-1134). 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.