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Needlefishes and Relatives: Beloniformes

Physical Characteristics

Needlefishes and their relatives, the flyingfishes, halfbeaks, sauries, and rice fishes, are long fishes. The dorsal (DOOR-suhl) and anal (AY-nuhl) fins are far back on the body. The dorsal fin is the one along the midline of the back. The anal fin is the one along the midline of the belly. The lateral (LAT-uhr-uhl) line is on the belly. This line, a series of pores and tiny tubes used for sensing vibrations is usually along the sides of a fish's body.

Needlefishes have a sleek body and very long upper and lower jaws studded with sharp teeth. In halfbeaks the lower jaw is much longer than the upper jaw. Flyingfishes are streamlined and have very large pectoral (PECK-ter-uhl) fins, which are the front pair, corresponding to the front legs of four-footed animals. Rice fishes do not look like the other members of this group. They have a less streamlined body, large eyes, an upturned mouth, and a long anal fin.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesNeedlefishes and Relatives: Beloniformes - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, California Flyingfish (cheilopogon Pinnatibarbatus Californicus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, THEIR RELATIVES NEED