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 silvery-blue to silvery-grey trevally, 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 bands on the sides. 

Juveniles, with their extremely long filaments trailing from the dorsal and anal fins, 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. 2021, Alectis ciliaris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 May 2022,

Pennantfish, Alectis ciliaris (Bloch 1787)

More Info


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


Adults are more elongate than juveniles, have a rounded head profile, a superficially naked body – scales where present minute and embedded, and 8-30 scutes only along the straight posterior part of the lateral line with. 
Juveniles have elongate pelvic fins that lack filaments, and extremely long, filamentous anterior dorsal and anal-fin rays. As the fish grows, the filaments gradually reduce and disappear.


Feeds mainly on fishes and crustaceans.

Species Citation

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


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Pennantfish, Alectis ciliaris (Bloch 1787)


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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

Bloch, M.E. 1787. Naturgeschichte der ausländischen Fische. Berlin : J. Morino Vol. 3 146 pp. pls 181-216.

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Watson, W., Charter, S.R., Moser, H.G.,  Ambrose, D.A. & Sandknop, E.M. 1996. Carangidae: jacks. pp. 914-953. 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 pp.

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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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map