Parexocoetus hillianus

Common Name

Atlantic Sailfin Flyingfish

Year Described

Gosse, 1851


Dorsal Fin: 9-14
Anal Fin: 10-14
Pectoral Fin: 11-13
Gill Rakers: 26-33 (first arch)
Predorsal Scales: 16-24
Transverse Scale Rows: 4.5-5.5
Vertebrae: 36-40

Body elongate and slightly compressed with a oval cross-section. Head length 3.9-4.9 in SL. Snout blunt. Eye diameter 2.9-3.5 in HL. Jaw teeth small and conical. Lower and upper jaws almost equal; jaws protrusible. Pectoral fins long (1.7-2.1 in SL) with first ray unbranched, fin reaching to middle of dorsal fin. Pelvic fins short (4.5-5.5 in SL), not reaching to anal fin origin, with pelvic origin nearer to anal fin than pectoral fin base. Dorsal fin very high (longest ray 2.4-3.1 in SL). Origin of anal fin behind dorsal fin (under 1st ray) or even with it. Caudal fin forked with the lower lobe longer than upper. Lateral line low on side. Pectoral branch of lateral line present. Juveniles similar in proportions to adults, with paired short chin barbels (<105mm SL).


Body metallic blue-green above, abruptly paler below. Dorsal fin pale with a large dark blotch. Pectoral, anal, and pelvic fin transparent. Juveniles with black dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins.


Maximum size to 12.5cm SL.


Pelagic in neritic waters. Planktivorous with demersal eggs.


Continental: from the Gulf Stream and Sargasso Sea to northern Brazil, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.


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.

Other Notes

The name Parexocoetus brachypterus has been used for this species, but that name now refers to a Pacific species.