Hirundichthys rondeletii

Common Name

Blackwing Flyingfish

Year Described

Valenciennes, 1846

Identification

Dorsal Fin: 10-12
Anal Fin: 11-13
Pectoral Fin: 17-19
Gill Rakers: 21-29 (first arch)
Predorsal Scales: 26-31
Transverse Scale Rows: 6-7.5
Vertebrae: 44-47

Body elongate with a rectangular cross-section. Head length 4.5-5.0 in SL. Eye diameter 3.1-3.3 in HL. Jaw teeth conspicuous and conical. Lower and upper jaw almost equal in length. Palatine teeth absent. Pectoral fins long (1.3-1.4 in SL) with* first two rays unbranched*, fin reaching to caudal fin base. Pelvic fins long (2.8-3.4 in SL), reaching well beyond anal fin origin, with pelvic origin nearer to anal fin than pectoral fin base. Dorsal fin low (longest ray more than 10 times in SL). Origin of anal fin slightly ahead of, equal with, or slightly behind (under 1st-2nd ray) dorsal fin. Caudal fin forked with the lower lobe longer than upper. Lateral line low on side. Pectoral branch of lateral line absent. Juveniles with enlarged pelvic fins and no chin barbel(s).

Color

Dark blue-black above, abruptly paler below. Pectoral fins black with a narrow pale posterior margin. Dorsal and caudal fin gray. Anal fin transparent. Pelvic fin pale with a black spot. Juveniles with a few transverse darker bands and mottled dark fins.

Size

Maximum size to 24cm SL.

Habitat

Pelagic over deep and continental waters. Zooplanktivorous with demersal eggs.

Range

Oceanic: subtropical waters of the North Atlantic from Canada to the northern Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Also in the subtropical southwestern Atlantic off Brazil as a disjunct population.

References

Parin, N.V. 2002a. 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.

Parin, N. V. & T. N. Belyanina. 2002b. A review of the flyingfishes of the subgenus Danichthys (genus Hirundichthys, Exocoetidae). Journal of Ichthyology v. 42 (Suppl. 1): S23-S44.

Other Notes

There are two populations of black-winged Hirundichthys in the western Atlantic: one in the northern Atlantic and one in the southwestern Atlantic. The northern population was given the name Hirundichthys rondeletii volador and the southern population given the name H. r. rufipinnis (Parin & Belyanina, 2002). These have been elevated to species in the recent (2016) FAO guides.