Animal Species:Smooth Flutemouth, Fistularia commersonii Rüppell, 1838
The Smooth flutemouth is a very elongate fish that has a long filament projecting from the caudal fin. It occurs widely throughout the Indo-Pacific.
Standard Common Name
The Smooth flutemouth is a very elongate fish that has a long filament projecting from the caudal fin. The filament is lined with sensory pores, and may serve as a long-range sensory system for detecting prey.
The species is usually greenish with blue wavy lines.
Two species of flutemouths are recorded from Australian waters, the Smooth Flutemouth and the Rough Flutemouth, F. petimba. The species can be differentiated by bony plates along the dorsal midline that are present in F. petimba but absent in F. commersonii and two ridges on the top of the snout that are parallel in F. petimba but bulge centrally in F. commersonii.
It grows to 1.6 m in length.
The Smooth Flutemouth has a wide Indo-Pacific distribution. In Australia it is recorded from the south-western coast of Western Australia, around the north of the country and south to the central New South Wales coast.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
The species is found on coastal reefs and in seagrass beds.
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. TMC Publishing Pp. 240.
- Orr, J.W. & T.W. Pietsch, 1998. Pipefishes and their Allies. in Paxton, J.R. & W.N. Eschmeyer (Eds). 1998. Encyclopedia of Fishes (ed. 2). San Diego: Academic Press. Pp. 240.
- Paxton, J.R., D.F. Hoese, G.R. Allen & J.E. Hanley. 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia Vol.7 Pisces Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Survey. Pp. i-xii, 1-665.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology