Highfin Veilfin, Velifer hypselopterus Bleeker 1879

Other Names: High-finned Veilfin, Sailfin Velifer

A Highfin Veilfin, Velifer hypselopterus, at the Izu Peninsula, Japan. Source: Izuzuki / http://www.izuzuki.com/. License: CC BY Attribution-ShareAlike

An iridescent bluish-green veil fin with 6-7 dusky bars across the body the first as a dark blotch before the dorsal fin, alternating blue and yellow stripes on the dorsal and anal fins, and an ocellus on the rear of the dorsla fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Velifer hypselopterus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Mar 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/1504

Highfin Veilfin, Velifer hypselopterus Bleeker 1879

More Info


Shark Bay, Western Australia, to Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, and off Iluka  to Stockton Bight, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Indo-west Pacific.
Inhabits bays, coral reefs and coastal waters.


Dorsal fin I-II,33-34; Anal fin I,24-25 (spine minute, concealed by scaly sheath at base of fin); Pectoral fin 15-16; Pelvic fin 7-8 (first ray unbranched); Lateral line 59-72; Gill rakers 4 + (ll-12). 
Body deep, ovate, depth 2.1-2.2, head 3.0-3.3 in SL; eye 3.0-3.7 in head; mouth small, teeth absent. Preorbital bone without notch posteriorly.
Scales cycloid, deciduous.

Scaly sheath present at dorsal and anal-fin bases, anterior rays elevated, much longer than head; rays gradually decreasing in length posteriorly; caudal fin deeply forked. 


Taken and discarded as bycatch in trawl fisheries.


The specific name hypselopterus is from the Greek hypselos (= high) and pteron (= fin, wing), in reference to the greatly elongate anterior dorsal-fin rays of this species.

Species Citation

Velifer hypselopterus Bleeker 1879, Verh. Akad. Amsterdam 18: 16. Type locality: Japan.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Highfin Veilfin, Velifer hypselopterus Bleeker 1879


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Bleeker, P. 1879. Énumération des espèces de poissons actuellement connues du Japon et description de trois espèces inédites. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen 18: 1-33 pls 1-3 See ref at BHL

Heemstra, P.C. 1986. Family No. 208: Veliferidae. pp. 398-399 in Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds). Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 pls. See ref at BHL

Keivany, Y. 2014. Comparative osteology of the jaws in representatives of the eurypterygian fishes. Research in Zoology 4. 29-42. 

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

Olney, J.E. 1999. Families Veliferidae, Lamprididae, Stylephoridae, Lophotidae, Radiicephalidae, Trachipteridae, Regalecidae. pp. 1966-1975 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.  

Ramm, D.C., Pender, P.J., Willing, R.S. & Buckworth, R.C. 1990. Large-scale spatial patterns of abundance within the assemblage of fish caught by prawn trawlers in Northern Australian waters. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 41(1): 79-95.

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

Walters, V. 1960. Synopsis of the lampridiform suborder Veliferoidei. Copeia 1960(3): 245-247.

Williams, A. 2020. Velifer hypselopterus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T123376458A123376558. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-1.RLTS.T123376458A123376558.en. Accessed on 03 October 2022.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37269002

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:17-186 m

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CAAB distribution map