Pennantfish, Alectis ciliaris (Bloch 1787)

Other Names: African Pompano, Pennant Fish, Pennant-fish, Round-headed Pennantfish, Threadfin Trevally

Pennantfish, Alectis ciliaris, in the Bahamas. Source: Kevin Bryant / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike


A deep, very compressed metallic silvery-blue to silvery-grey trevally becoming silvery-white below, with a black blotch on the front part of the dorsal fin. Juveniles are almost diamond-shaped with 5 chevron-shaped dark bars on the side, a black blotch at base of 3rd to 6th soft dorsal-fin ray, and the filaments are black distally

The pelagic juveniles have extremely long filaments trailing from the dorsal and anal fins, and appear to mimic box jellyfishes with long trailing tentacles.

Juvenile Pennantfish in Lahainai Harbor, Hawaii

Juvenile Pennantfish in Papua New Guinea

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Alectis ciliaris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 May 2024,

Pennantfish, Alectis ciliaris (Bloch 1787)

More Info


Widespread in Australia, from Dunsborough, Western Australia, around the tropical north to Mallacoota, Victoria; also the Lord Howe Province and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the species occurs worldwide in tropical and subtropical coastal waters, and is widespread in the Indo-West Pacific.

Adults inhabit coastal waters, while juveniles are pelagic.


Dorsal fin VII(embedded) + I,18-20; Anal fin II(embedded) + I,15-17; Gill rakers (lower arch) 12-17; Lateral-line scutes 8-30 (at rear of straight part of Llat).
Body deep, compressed, becoming more elongate with growth; head profile broadly rounded in adults; suborbital depth relatively narrow, 0.8–1.0 in upper jaw length. Body superficially naked body, scales where present minute and embedded. profile of nape and head broadly round, scutes present along rear of lateral line. Pectoral fins falcate, greater than head length; anal fin rays sometimes filamentous in adults; juveniles with elongate pelvic fins that lack filaments, and extremely long, filamentous anterior dorsal and anal-fin rays.


Mostly silvery with a light metallic bluish tinge on upper 1/3 of body and head; 


Feeds mainly on fishes and crustaceans.

Similar Species

Juvenile Diamond Trevally, Scyris indica, have elongate filaments on the pelvic fins that are lacking in juvenile Pennanfish. Adult Pennantfish also have a more rounded head profile, versus the more angular head profile of the Diamond Trevally.


The specific name is from the Latin cilium (= eyelash) in reference to the elongate dorsal and anal-fin rays of juveniles.

Species Citation

Zeus ciliaris Bloch 1787, Naturg. ausländ. Fische: 36, pl. 191. Type locality: Surat, India (as East Indies).


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Pennantfish, Alectis ciliaris (Bloch 1787)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37337018

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:to 100 m

Habitat:Pelagic inshore

Max Size:150 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map