Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Beloniformes
(Needle fishes) > Belonidae
Etymology: Belone: Greek, belone = needle; any fish with sharp pointed snout; also Pierre Belon, 1517-64, French zoologist born in Le Mans. Professor at the College de France, author of " La nature et diversité des poissons", 1551 (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; brackish; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - ? m. Temperate, preferred 16°C (Ref. 107945); 65°N - 14°N, 32°W - 42°E
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 93.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637); common length : 45.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3397); max. published weight: 1.3 kg (Ref. 35388)
soft rays: 19 - 23. Jaw teeth comparatively large and widely spaced. Vertebrae 75-84. Vomerine teeth present at lengths greater than 20 cam. Lower jaw a little longer than upper jaw. Juveniles with greatly elongated jaw, without black posterior dorsal fin lobe.
Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Three subspecies were recognized by Collette and Parin (1970, Ref. 34977) Belone belone belone (Linnaeus, 1761) (Northeast Atlantic); Belone belone euxini Günther, 1866 (Black Sea and Sea of Azov); Belone belone acus Risso, 1827 (Mediterranean Sea and adjacent parts of Atlantic Ocean, Madeira, Canary Islands, Azores, and south to Cape Verde (Ref. 50279); subspecies Belone belone gracilis Lowe, 1839 (France to the Canary Islands including the Mediterranean) in Collette & Parin, 1990 (Ref. 5757).
Lives close to the surface and has a migratory pattern similar to the mackerel (Ref. 35388). Feeds on small fishes, particularly clupeids and Engraulis (in the Black Sea). Leaps out of the water when hooked. Oviparous (Ref. 205). Eggs may be found attached to objects in the water by tendrils on the egg's surface (Ref. 205). Utilized fresh and frozen; can be fried, broiled and baked (Ref. 9988).
Collette, B.B. and N.V. Parin, 1986. Belonidae. p. 604-609. In P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese (eds.) Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Volume 2. Unesco, Paris. (Ref. 5505)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.6250 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00100 (0.00079 - 0.00127), b=3.04 (2.97 - 3.11), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.2 ±0.4 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (tm=2; Fec=1000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate to high vulnerability (48 of 100) .