Pilotfish, Naucrates ductor Click to enlarge image
A Pilotfish caught on hook and line 24 km, off Sydney, New South Wales, April 2013. The fish was swimming under floating debris. Image: Peter Somogyi
© Peter Somogyi

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    ductor
    Genus
    Naucrates
    Family
    Carangidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 70 cm in length.

Introduction

The Pilotfish is a circum-tropical species that can be recognised by is pattern of dark cross bands.



Habitat

Adults are often found in inshore waters swimming alongside larger predatory fishes. They feed on scraps of the predators prey. Juveniles are often encountered swimming under floating items such as seaweed.

Distribution

It is found worldwide in tropical and some temparate marine waters.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



References

  1. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  2. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.