Smooth Flutemouth, Fistularia commersonii Rüppell 1838


Other Names: Bluespotted Cornetfish, Bluspotted Cornetfish, Smooth Cornetfish, Smooth Flute-mouth

A Smooth Flutemouth, Fistularia commersonii, in the Red Sea. Source: Derek Keats / Flickr. License: CC BY Attribution

Summary:

A brownish to olive-green flutemouth with no bony plates along the dorsal midline, and ridges along the top of the snout that bulge outwards rather than being parallel. The long tail filament is lined with sensory pores which may help the fish detect prey.


Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson, Fistularia commersonii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Dec 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1507

Smooth Flutemouth, Fistularia commersonii Rüppell 1838

More Info


Distribution

Widespread in the tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific from East Africa and the Red Sea to Panama in the Eastern Pacific, north to southern Japan, and south to Australia and northern New Zealand. Known in Australian waters from Western Australia, Queensland to southern New South Wales, including Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island, Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island. The species is benthopelagic in seagrass beds and on coastal, lagoon and outer coral and rocky reefs and adjacent sandy areas at 3-200m.

Features

Dorsal fin 14-17; Anal fin 14-16; Pectoral fin 14-16; Vertebrae 83-86; Branchiostegal rays 5.

Body very elongate, slightly depressed; head long, eye very large with anteriorally elongate pupil; mouth small, at tip of narrow tubular snout; chin barbel absent; body midline without bony plates..

Single opposing dorsal and anal fins of similar appearance far posterior on body; caudal fin forked, with long filament extending from centre.

Colour

Body greenish-grey to brown dorsally, lighter ventrally. The dorsal surface has two thin blue stripes or rows of blue spots or dashes, and both dorsal and anal fins are orange distally. The caudal filament is white. Individuals become broadly banded at night.

Feeding

Smooth Flutemouths are usually solitary predators, although they may also feed near the bottom in small groups. They usually feed on small fishes, and on crustaceans and squid. When feeding in the water column, flutemouths often feed on schooling fishes, whereas they preyed on individual bottom-dwelling fishes.

 Individuals usually stalk their prey, although larger flutemouths will chase other fishes. They sometimes forage by ‘riding’ alongside other fishes before suddenly attacking their prey, a tactic also used by trumpetfishes (Family Aulostomidae). The long tubular snout is a very efficient device for sucking in small fishes which are a major food source.

Biology

Sexes separate, oviparous (eggs hatch and develop outside the body), spawning pelagic. Eggs large, smooth, spherical, 1.5-2.1 mm in diameter, lack oil droplets, narrow perivitelline space. Larvae hatch at 6-7 mm.

Fisheries

Although the Smooth Flutemouth is of minor commercial importance and is mostly sold as fish meal, and is also marketed fresh, salted, dried or smoked. The species is also sold in the aquarium industry.

Remarks

In 2000, the Smooth Flutemouth was reported to have invaded the Mediterranean Sea. The species continues to disperse rapidly in the Mediterranean, and is now well-established and abundant in some areas.

Similar Species

Although the Smooth Flutemouth is superficially similar to the Rough Flutemouth, it differs in lacking bony plates along the dorsal midline, and the ridges along the top of the snout bulge outwards rather than being parallel as in the Rough Flutemouth.

Although flutemouths superficially resemble trumpetfishes (family Aulostomidae), they have a tail filament, and lack a chin barbel and scales. Adult trumpetfish are also found only in the tropics.

Etymology

Fistularia is from the Latin fistula, meaning pipeline, in reference to the long tubular-shaped body. The species is named for Mr Commerson.

Species Citation

Fistularia commersonii Rüppell 1838, Fische Rothen Meeres 1835-38: 142. Type locality: Mohila, Red Sea.

Author

Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson

Smooth Flutemouth, Fistularia commersonii Rüppell 1838

References


Allen, G.R. & W.F. Smith-Vaniz. 1994. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Res. Bull. 412: 21 p.

Allen, G.R., R.C. Steene & M. Orchard. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island Natural History Association, Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, Australia. 284 p.

Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The marine fishes of north-western Australia: a field guide for anglers and divers. Western Australian Museum, Perth. 201 pp.

Francis, M.P. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pac. Sci. 47(2):136-170.

Fritzsche R.A. 1976. A review of the cornetfishes genus Fistularia (Fistulariidae) with a discussion of intrageneric relationships and zoogeography. Bull Mar Sci 26(2): 196-204 figs 1-4.

Fritzsche R.A. 1983. Gasterosteiformes: Development and relationships. In Moser, et al, Ontogeny and Systematics of Fishes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologicts International Symposium August 15-18 1983. La Jolla, California.

Fritzsche R.A. & Thiesfeld K.G. 1999. Families Aulostomidae, Fistulariidae, Macrorhamphosidae, Centriscidae pp 2277-2282 in Carpenter KE & Niem VH (eds) The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO species identification guide for fisheries purposes. Rome: FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790.

Golani, D. 2000. First record of the bluespotted cornetfish from the Mediterranean Sea. J. Fish Biol. 56(6):1545-1547.

Golani, D, E. Azzurro, M. Corsini-Foka, M. Falautano, F. Andaloro & G. Bernardi. 2007. Genetic bottlenecks and successful biological invasions: the case of a recent Lessepsian migrant. Biol. Lett. 3: 541-545.

Hoese D.F., Bray D.J., Paxton J.R. & Allen G.R. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley P.L. & Wells A. (eds) Zoological catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia, 3 parts.

Kalogirou, S., M. Corsini, G. Kondilatos & H. Wennhage. 2007. Diet of the invasive piscivorous fish Fistularia commersonii in a recently colonized area of the eastern Mediterranean. Biol. Invasions 9: 887–896.

Kuiter R.H. 1993. Coastal fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press Pty Ltd Bathurst NSW Australia

Kuiter R.H. 2009. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. Aquatic Photographics, Seaford, Australia.

Leis J.M. & Rennis D.S. 2000. Fistulariidae (Cornetfishes, Flutemouths) in Leis JM and Carson-Ewart BM (eds) The Larvae of Indo-Pacific Coastal Fishes: An identification guide to marine fish larvae. Brill, The Netherlands.

Nakamura, Y., M. Horinouchi, T. Nakai & M. Sano. 2003. Food habits of fishes in a seagrass bed on a fringing coral reef at Iriomote Island, southern Japan. Ichthyol. Res. 50:15-22.

Okiyama, M. 1988. An atlas of the early stage fishes in Japan. Tokai University Press, Tokyo. 1157 pp. [in Japanese]

Orr, J.W. & T.W. Pietsch, 1998. Pipefishes and their Allies. in Paxton, J.R. & W.N. Eschmeyer (Eds). 1998. Encyclopedia of Fishes (2nd ed.). San Diego: Academic Press. Pp. 240.

Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen & R.C. Steene. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 506 p.

Watson, W. & E.M. Sandknop, 1996. Fistulariidae: cornetfishes, p. 718-723. In H.G. Moser (ed.) The early stages of fishes in the California Current Region. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Atlas No. 33. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 1505 p.

Takeuchi, N, H Hashimoto & K Gushima. 2002. Short-term foraging patterns of individual cornetfish, Fistularia commersonii, based on stomach content analysis. Ichthyol. Res. 49: 76–80.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37278001

Depth:3-200 m

Fishing:Minor commercial

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:170 cm TL

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