Beloniformes - Needlefishes Etymology: (Greek belon – a dart

Beloniformes - Needlefishes
Etymology: (Greek belon – a dart, arrowhead, needle)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fish)
Order: Beloniformes
Suborder: Adrianichthyoidei
Families (1): Adrianichthyidae (ricefish and medakas)
Suborder: Belonoidei
Superfamily: Scomberesocoidea
Families: Belonidae (needlefish), Scomberesocidae (sauries)
Superfamily: Exocoetoidea
Families: Exocoetidae (flyingfishes), Hemiramphidae (halfbeaks)
Genera: 40
Species: 186
Description: Beloniformes are soft-rayed and physoclistic. The abdominal pelvic fins have six rays.
There are no maxillae in the gape, no orbitosphenoid bone and no mesocoracoid. They have a fixed
jaw. The lower lobe of the caudal fin typically has more rays and is longer than the upper lobe. The
caudal fin usually has 13-branched rays. The dorsal fin is towards the posterior end of the body,
above the anal fin. The pectoral fins are usually high on the body. The lateral line is only present in
some species and if present is very low on the body. They have variously reduced nasal organs.
They are active fishes.
Habitat: Fish in this order typically live in warm seas at or near the waters surface and are usually
warm water marine fishes. A few species live in temperate oceans and a few species live in fresh
water or brackish water.
Distribution: They are found globally in warm oceans and in some ponds or streams.
Ecology and Life History: The eggs of the Exocoetoidei species often have long tendrils or
filaments. Exocoetoidei species have elongated jaws at stages of their life history. Some
Adrianichthyidae have internal fertilization and the eggs hatch when they are released.
Additional Details: Some of flyingfishes can reach flights of 50 m and speeds up to 90 km/hr.
Sauries are commercially fished in the North Pacific. The longest genera can be up to 1.5m long.
Adrianichthyidae fishes are found in fresh and brackish waters in Southeast Asia and the East Indes
and are popular aquarium fishes.
Recent Research: Gong, Y. Y.S. Shu. 2013. Effect of climate-ocean changes on the abundance of
Pacific saury. Journal of Environmental Biology. 34: 23-30.
References Used:
Bond, C. E. 1996. Biology of Fishes, 2nd. ed. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth, TX.
Fish Base. Accessed 25 February 2013.