Flat-tail Longtom, Platybelone argalus (Lesueur 1821)

Other Names: Flat-tailed Long Tom, Flat-tailed Longtom, Flat-tailed Long-tom, Keeltail Needlefish, Needlefish

A Flat-tail Longtom, Platybelone argalus, at Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia. Source: Dennis Polack / FishWise Professional. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Platybelone argalus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Mar 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/2091

Flat-tail Longtom, Platybelone argalus (Lesueur 1821)

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North of Barrow Island, offshore reefs of Western Australia, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and the Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea, Queensland; also the Lord Howe Island region and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea, and Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is circumglobal in warm waters of all oceans, especially offshore and commonly around islands.


Dorsal fin 12-15; Anal fin 17-20. Gill rakers present; caudal peduncle with a lateral keel, the lateral line passes ventral to keel.


Feeds mostly on small fishes.


Targeted as a food fish in parts of its range.

Species Citation

Belona argalus Lesueur 1821, Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 2(1): 125, pl. Type locality: island of Guadaloupe, West Indies.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Australian Faunal Directory

Flat-tail Longtom, Platybelone argalus (Lesueur 1821)


Allen, G.R. 1993. Fishes of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 44: 67-91 

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

Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2 

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. 

Allen, G.R. & Russell, B.C. 1986. Part VII Fishes. pp. 79-103 in Berry, P.F. (ed.). Faunal Surveys of the Rowley Shoals, Scott Reef and Seringapatam Reef, northwestern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 25: 1-106 

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21 

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island.Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp. 

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. 

Choat, J.H., van Herwerden, L., Robbins, W.D., Hobbs, J.P. & Ayling, A.M. 2006. A report on the ecological surveys undertaken at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, February 2006. Report by James Cook University to the Department of the Environment and Heritage. 65 pp. 

Coleman, N. 1981. Australian Sea Fishes North of 30°S. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 297 pp. 

Collette, B.B. 1999. Family Belonidae. pp. 2151-2161 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790.

Collette, B.B. & Berry, F.H. 1965. Recent studies on the needlefishes (Belonidae) : an evaluation. Copeia 1965(3): 386-392 

Collette, B., Matsuura, K., Nelson, J., Dooley, J., Fritzsche, R. & Carpenter, K. 2010. Platybelone argalus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154844A115241089. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T154844A4648434.en. Downloaded on 21 February 2019.

Collette, B.B. & Parin, N.V. 1970. Needlefishes (Belonidae) of the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Atlantide Report 11: 7-60 figs 1-13 

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2 

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93, 193-228 in Hutchings, P. (ed.) Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 pp. 

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp. 

Günther, A. 1909. Andrew Garrett's Fische der Südsee. Heft 8. Journal des Museum Godeffroy, Hamburg 6(16): 261-388 figs 141-160 (as Belone persimilis)

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S.J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Checklist and new records of Christmas Island fishes: the influence of isolation, biogeography and habitat availability on species abundance and community composition. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 184–202 

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S .J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands: new records, community composition and biogeographic significance. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 203–219 

Lesueur, C.A. 1821. Observations on several genera and species of fish belonging to the natural family of the esoces. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 2(1): 124-138 

Mees, G.F. 1962. A preliminary revision of the Belonidae. Zoologische Verhandelingen (Leiden) 54: 1-96 figs 1-11 pl. 1 

Parin, N.V. 1967. Review of marine belonids of the western Pacific and Indian Oceans. Trudy Instituta Okeanologii. Akademiya Nauk SSSR. Moskva 84: 3-83 figs 1-25 [in Russian] 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. Randall, J.E., 

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. 

Struthers, C.D. 2015. Families Belonidae, Scomberesocidae. pp. 949-953 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152. 

Whitley, G.P. 1932. Studies in Ichthyology No. 6. Records of the Australian Museum 18(6): 321-348 figs 1-3 pls 36-39 (as Platybelone dorsalis)

Whitley, G.P. 1947. Long toms. Australian Museum Magazine 9(5): 169-173

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37235008

Danger:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-30 m


Max Size:50 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map