Tylosurus crocodilus (Péron & Lesueur, 1821)
Tylosurus crocodilus (Péron & Lesueur, 1821)

Scientific Name: Tylosurus crocodilus

English Name: Hound needlefish

Creole Name: Zegwi

French Name: Aiguille crocodile

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines: 0; Dorsal rays: 21-24; Anal spines: 0; Anal rays: 18-22;

Body elongate and rounded in cross-section. Jaws elongate, forming stout ‘beak’ lined with sharp teeth. Anterior part of dorsal and anal fins with relatively high lobes. Pelvic fins abdominal.
A distinct black lateral keel on caudal peduncle. Caudal fin forked, lower lobe longer than upper.

Colour. Dark bluish green dorsally, a dark blue stripe along flank and silvery below and ventrally.  A black spot sometimes present distally in pectoral fin. Juveniles 
with elevated black lobe in posterior part of dorsal fin.


Maturity: Lm unknown. Range unknown. Max Length: 150cm TL. Common length 90cm.

Habitat and Ecology:

A pelagic species found over lagoon and seaward reefs (depth 0-20, usually 0-13m). Tends to inhabit more coastal waters than Tylosurus acus melanotus, but also found in 
offshore waters. Solitary or in small groups. Feeds mainly on small fishes.

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is caught in the hand line fishery and by trolling, but is an uncommon component of the catch.


Leap from the water when threatened or attracted to lights at night. As a result, they are often feared by fishers because of the puncture wounds caused by their long sharp jaws.


Bray, D.J. (2018). Tylosurus crocodilus in Fishes of Australia, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2097 (21/11/18). 
Collette, B.B. (1984). Belonidae. In W. Fischer and G. Bianchi (eds.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51), 
Volume 1. FAO, Rome.
Collette, B.B. et al. (2015). Tylosurus crocodilus. The IUCN Red List 2015: e.T183274A15602960. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T183274A15602960.en. (20/11/18).
Froese, R. & D. Pauly. Eds. (2018). FishBase. https://www.fishbase.de/summary/977 (20/11/18)
Heemstra, P. & Heemstra E. (2004). Coastal Fishes of Southern Africa. SAIAB NISC ISBN 1-920033-01-7
Smith, M & Heemstra, P. Eds. (1999). Smiths’ Sea Fishes Edition 6. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 10.1007/978-3-642-82858-4


Nevill, J.E.G. (2019). Tylosurus crocodilus, Hound needlefish. Seychelles Seatizens. www.seatizens.sc. https://seatizens.sc/species/tylosurus-crocodilus-peron-lesueur-1821/  (revised 20/06/22).

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