Fun Keeltail Needlefish Facts For Kids

Oluniyi Akande
Oct 20, 2022 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
One of the interesting Keeltail Needlefish facts is that it lives close to the surface in offshore waters.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

Keeltail Needlefish, also known as the Keeled Needlefish is a species of fish found in tropical waters around the world. These fish belong to the Belonidae family of Needlefish.

This species has an extensive geographic range, being found in many water bodies and territories in the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. They are smaller than other needlefish species like the Houndfish.

They are silver-blue in color and grow to a maximum length of 20 in (50 cm). They get the 'needle' in their name because of their elongated, slender, and narrow jaws.

The 'keeltail' is an obvious reference to the flat and big keel-like structures that are on both sides of its tail.

They live in offshore shallow waters up to depths of 15 ft (5 m). They feed on smaller fish, are preyed upon by larger fish, and reproduce by laying eggs.

They are also known for jumping out of the water at high speeds of about 37 mph (60 kph), to avoid predators and to hunt. This may be dangerous if a person on a boat was close by.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about more fish including milkfish facts or the needlefish facts.

Keeltail Needlefish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Keeltail Needlefish?

Keeltail Needlefish (Platybelone argalus) is a fish.

What class of animal does a Keeltail Needlefish belong to?

Keeltail Needlefish (Platybelone argalus) belongs to the ray-finned fish (Actinopterygii) class of animals and the family Belonidae.

How many Keeltail Needlefish are there in the world?

The exact number of Keeltail fish (Platybelone argalus) in the world is unclear, but their population is abundant in many parts of the world.

Where does a Keeltail Needlefish live?

Keeltail Needlefish (Platybelone argalus) live in the ocean.

What is a Keeltail Needlefish's habitat?

Keel-tail Needlefish (Platybelone argalus) are found in the Atlantic ocean, the Indian ocean, and the Pacific ocean. They may be found in shallow waters, but more often offshore.

They live near the surface and till depths of 15 ft (5 m). They are mostly found around Islands, in tropical, subtropic, marine, and temperate waters as well as freshwater. Schools of Keeltail Needlefish are found in reef shelters.

Who do Keeltail Needlefish live with?

Keeltail Needlefish (Platybelone argalus) live with other Keeltail needlefish in 'school' or groups, swimming in coordination, in the same direction.

How long does a Keeltail Needlefish live?

Keeltail Needlefish (Platybelone argalus), who belong to the family Belonidae and genus Platybelone, may live up to eight years.

How do they reproduce?

Keeltail Needlefish (Platybelone argalus) reproduce by mating and external fertilization. Being a needlefish, the female is ridden by the male on waves, the female lays eggs and attaches them to floating objects using tendrils on the bottom of the eggs.

They are likely to hatch two weeks after this and larvae survive floating in the water freely and may move deeper as they become juveniles.

What is their conservation status?

The Conservation Status of Keeltail Needlefish (Platybelone argalus) according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature is 'Least Concern'.

Keeltail Needlefish Fun Facts

What do Keeltail Needlefish look like?

Keeltail Needlefish

Keeled Needlefish of Keeltail Needlefish are similar in appearance to the gars that live in North American waters. It most prominently has keel-type structures on both sides of its tail. It has a slender, elongated jaw with very sharp teeth.

The lower part of the jaw is ever-so-slightly longer than the upper one. Its body is bluish-silver in color, with some green on its back as well. It has rays on its dorsal and anal fins, 12-15 and 17-20 respectively.

Keeltail Needlefish also have lateral keels in front of the caudal fin, on the caudal peduncle, and a lateral line on the underside. They also have gill-rakers. The diameters of their eyes and bodies are about the same.

How cute are they?

Keeltail Needlefish (Platybelone argalus) can be considered cute animals. They have a striking, noticeable appearance. Their bodies are shiny if not very colorful. They are known for their jaws which are elongated and narrow.

How do they communicate?

Keeltail Needlefish (Platybelone argalus) communicate by motion and gesture much like other fish. It uses its blue-silvery color to defend against predators and blend in.

How big is a Keeltail Needlefish?

A Keeltail Needlefish (Platybelone argalus) is 14-20 in (35-50 cm) long, which makes it 3-4 times smaller than the Houndfish (Crocodile needlefish)

How fast can a Keeltail Needlefish swim?

A Keeltail Needlefish (Platybelone argalus) can swim up to 37 mph (60 kmph). They also jump out of the water with this speed.

How much does a Keeltail Needlefish weigh?

A Keeltail Needlefish (p. argalus) weighs about 0.5-2 lb (0.23-1 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

The males and females of the Keeltail Needlefish (p. argalus) do not have specific names.

What would you call a baby Keeltail Needlefish?

A baby Keeltail Needlefish would be called a larva, juvenile, or a fry during different stages in its life before becoming an adult.

What do they eat?

Keeltail Needlefish eat other smaller fish and shrimp.

Are Keeltail Needlefish dangerous?

Keeltail Needlefish are not particularly dangerous, but their ability to jump out of the shallow water and their needle-like jaws and teeth make them slightly dangerous. However, instances of a Keeltail Needlefish attack actually harming a human are low.

Would they make a good pet?

Keeltail Needlefish would not make a good pet only because they can jump out of the water at high speeds up to 37 mph (60 kph) and because of their narrow jaws.

Did you know...

Keeltail Needlefish have lateral keels behind the caudal fin, on the caudal peduncle. The dorsal fins and anal fins have a different amount of 'rays' on them. The lower jaw of the Keeltail needlefish is longer than the upper. There are no vomerine teeth present on the upper or lower jaw.

Apart from the marine waters, Keeltail needle-fish are also found in brackish water and freshwater.

Keeltail needlefish have a wide range and distribution. On the Western side of the Atlantic, the Keeltail Needle-fish covers the Gulf of Mexico, North Carolina, Brazil, the Caribbean Sea, and the Bahamas. Apart from the Western side, they are also found on the Eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Another gulf they are known to inhabit is the Persian Gulf. Its range and distribution extends to the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, and off the coast of East Africa. Their range also includes the Baja California state of Mexico.

Keeltail Needle-fishes prefer a reef shelter as a habitat. Schools of needle-fishes may be found in a sheltered reef.

The Keeltail Needlefish itself has seven recognized subspecies. P.a platyura, P.a. trachura, and P.a. lovii are among the more prominent subspecies.

Keeltail Needlefish also has several synonyms, Belone adreola, and Belone platyura are a couple of them.

Why are Keeltail Needlefish deadly?

Keeltail Needlefish are delicate but can prove injurious. They fly at really high speeds, they swim in very shallow waters, and their anatomy is characterized by strong 'needle' jaws or beaks.

Larger Needlefish prove more dangerous to people out on a boat. Nighttime fishermen are in danger because artificial lights may attract them, and needlefish always swim over the water surface when excited.

Leisurely daytime fishermen, as well as people on small recreational boats, may fall victim to Needlefish. And there have been deadly incidents involving bigger needlefish such as the Houndfish.

Do needlefish jump?

Yes, needlefish jump out of the shallow waters they inhabit. They are mostly evading predators when they do this.

But needlefish may also use this as a hunting tactic. They may jump out of the water and use the momentum of coming back down, to plunge into a school of smaller fish and catching one with their strong beaks and very sharp teeth.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these telescope fish facts and skate fish facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring one of our Keeltail needlefish coloring pages.

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Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

Oluniyi Akande picture

Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

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