Smallspotted Dart, Trachinotus baillonii (Lacépède 1801)

Other Names: Blackspotted Dart, Black-spotted Dart, Blackspotted Swallowtail, Black-spotted Swallowtail, Black-spotted Swallowtail, Northern Dart, Northern Swallowtail, Smallspot Pompano

Smallspotted Darts, Trachinotus baillonii, in the Maldives. Source: Malcolm Browne / Flickr. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A silvery-blue to greyish dart becoming silvery-white below, with 1 to 6 relatively small black spots along the lateral line (absent on fish less than 10-13 cm fork length). The caudal, second dorsal, and anal fins greyish to black with darker lobes, the pectoral fins are pale yellow to brownish-yellow, and the pelvic fins are pale yellow to orange-yellow. Adults usually have no large spots above the pectoral fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Trachinotus baillonii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jul 2024,

Smallspotted Dart, Trachinotus baillonii (Lacépède 1801)

More Info


Known in Australia from Bunbury, Western Australia, around the tropical north to Sydney Harbour, New South Wales; also Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean, and Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the species is widely distributed the Indo-west-central Pacific: Red Sea, East Africa, Seychelles, Madagascar and Mascarenes east to the northern Line and Gambier Islands, north to southern Japan and Korea, and south to Australia, Lord Howe, Norfolk Island, Tonga and Rapa.
Pair or small groups patrol reef edges or beaches in surface waters. Juveniles usually form schools in sheltered bays. 


Feeds mainly of crustaceans and polychaete worms.


The species is named for the French botanist and zoologist Louis Antoine François Baillon (1778–1851).

Species Citation

Caesiomorus baillonii Lacépède, 1801, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 3: 92, pl 3(1). Type locality: Fort Dauphin, Madagascar.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Smallspotted Dart, Trachinotus baillonii (Lacépède 1801)


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

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

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. & 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.

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. (Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island)

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 1. Eels- Snappers, Muraenidae - Lutjanidae. Australia : Zoonetics pp. 1-302.

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

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.

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2.

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1999. Family Carangidae. pp. 2659-2756 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 2069-2790 pp.

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & Walsh, S.J. 2019. Indo-West Pacific species of Trachinotus with spots on their sides as adults, with description of a new species endemic to the Marquesas Islands (Teleostei: Carangidae). Zootaxa 4651(1): 1-37.

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & Williams, I. 2016. Trachinotus baillonii (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T20436473A115383960. Downloaded on 06 August 2019.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37337074

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-50 m

Habitat:Coastal, pelagic, surge zones along beaches

Max Size:60 cm TL

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