Morphology Data of Elops lacerta
Identification keys
Main Ref. Bauchot, M.L., 2003
Appearance refers to
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs no special organs
Different appearance
Different colors

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features striking type of mouth
Body shape lateral elongated
Cross section oval
Dorsal head profile more or less straight
Type of eyes more or less normal
Type of mouth/snout more or less normal
Position of mouth terminal
Type of scales cycloid scales

Diagnosis: Elops lacerta is characterized by 17-19 gill-rakers on lower limb of first gill arch and small scales, those in lateral line numbering 72 to 83 and ornamented with a small, unbranched, tubule (Ref. 2844, 81265, 81629).

Description: Spindle-shaped fish, oval in cross-section (Ref. 81265). Eyes large, partially covered by an adipose eyelid; mouth terminal, gape wide, the upper jaw extending distinctly beyond hind margin of eye; lower jaw slightly prominent, with a bony gular plate placed ventrally between its two branches (Ref. 81265). All fins spineless; a single dorsal fin positioned at about mid-length of body, its long base enclosed in a scaly sheath; pectoral fins set low on sides, pelvics abdominal; both paired fins with a scaly axillary process above their bases; caudal fin deeply forked (Ref. 81265).

Colouration: Silvery on the sides, dorsum and head greyish black in preserved and bluish green in live specimens (Ref. 2844, 81265, 81629). Preserved specimens with dorsal and caudal fins greyish, other fins whitish or transparent; in life all fins are tinted a pale yellow; extremity of dorsal fin, as well as superior and posterior border of caudal, more or less broadly edged with dark grey (Ref. 2844, 81265, 81629). The colour pattern of the leptocephalus larvae is characterized by a strong line of dark pigment along the ventral border of the body and flanks with scattered melanophores; but species level identification of these larvae, Elops lacerta or E. senegalensis, remains uncertain (Ref. 81629).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Elops lacerta

Lateral Lines 1 Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line 72 - 83
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only)
Gill rakers
on lower limb 17 - 19
on upper limb


Dorsal fin(s)

Attributes other
Fins number 1
Finlets No. Dorsal   
Spines total 0 - 0
Soft-rays total
Adipose fin absent

Caudal fin

Attributes forked; more or less normal

Anal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Spines total 0 - 0
Soft-rays total

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  more or less normal
Pelvics Attributes  more or less normal
Position    abdominal  before origin of D1
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Palomares, Maria Lourdes D.
Modified by Bailly, Nicolas
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cfm script by eagbayani, 17.10.00, php script by rolavides, 13/03/08 ,  last modified by sortiz, 06.27.17