Distinctive needle fish outline, with its long slender body, and greatly extended upper and lower jaws, forming the needle beak. The jaws are set with numerous small teeth along their length. Both the dorsal and anal fins are located back towards the tail fin. Both have a set of high ridged anterior rays that fall away rapidly to the shorter posterior ones. No finlets are to be found between these fins and the tail fin.The pelvic fin is also set well down the dody, and is greatly diminished in size. The back and upper sides range from a bright green to darkish blue in colouration, with the lower sides and belly being silver. A yellowish golden hue is often attributed to the anal and pelvic fins, as well as the side and belly regions.
This occurs during May and June within inshore waters. The eggs (3 to 3.5mm) have long entangling filaments, for the attachment to seaweeds and other floating debris. The jaws grow with age, although the lower lengthens first, but by the time the fish is around 9cm or so in length, the jaws are fairly comparable, although the top may still be shorter.
Surface dwelling predator, found mainly in the top 20m or so of the water column, although not unknown to frequent deeper depths. This shelf / oceanic fish, is to be found inshore during the summer months, and may even enter estuaries.
Feeds on a wide range of small fish and fry, such as small sandeels, herring and the like, and is often to be found in large shoals, schooling with mackerel.
Found mainly in the Channel and western coasts, although not uncommonly encountered on the eastern coast as well.
Good eating, although the bones are a turquoise green, even after cooking.
The Aquarium Project