Smooth Flutemouth, Fistularia commersonii Click to enlarge image
A Smooth Flutemouth at Fairy Bower, Manly, Sydney, New South Wales, 20 April 2013. Image: Nick Dawkins
© Nick Dawkins

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    commersonii
    Genus
    Fistularia
    Family
    Fistulariidae
    Order
    Syngnathiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to 1.6 m in length.

Introduction

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.



Identification

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.

Habitat

The species is found on coastal reefs and in seagrass beds.



Distribution

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. It is a widely distributed species occuring in the Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific. The video, below, shows a fish that was filmed during an Australian Museum expedition to Southern French Polynesia.

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




References

  1. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. TMC Publishing Pp. 240.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.