Finny Scad, Megalaspis cordyla (Linnaeus 1758)

Other Names: Finletted Mackerel Scad, Hardtail Scad, Torpedo Scad

A Finny Scad, Megalaspis cordyla, at a cleaning station in Southeast Asia, 2012. Source: Keith Wilson / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A slender bluish-grey to greenish scad becoming silver on the sides and belly, with a large black spot on the upper rear edge of the gill cover, a series of prominent deep scutes along the side, long scythe-like pectoral fins, and a narrow caudal peduncle. This pelagic schooling species is rarely seen around reefs.
Video of a large school of Finny Scad off Cairns, Queensland.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Megalaspis cordyla in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Jun 2024,

Finny Scad, Megalaspis cordyla (Linnaeus 1758)

More Info


From Perth, Western Australia, around the tropical north to Botany Bay, New South Wales. The species occurs elsewhere widespread throughout the Indo-West Pacific from East Africa and the Persian Gulf east to Samoa, north to Japan, south to Australia. 
A pelagic schooling species that inhabits inshore and offshore oceanic waters, and is rarely seen near reefs.


Dorsal fin IX + 18-20 plus 7-9 finlets; Anal fin III, 16-17 plus 8-10 finlets.
Pectoral fin long, scythe-like; scutes prominent, vertically elongate, 51-59 on the straight part of the lateral line; adipose eyelid covering eye except for a narrow vertical slit over the pupil.


Feeds on fishes.


Fished throughout most of its range.


Juveniles may have prominent dark stripes along the sides, and have been seen schooling with juvenile venomous Striped Catfish, Plotosus lineatus (Smith-Vaniz et al. 2018 - originally identified as Caranx bucculentus).
Video of juvenile striped Catfish schooling with juvenile Striped Catfish in Lembeh Strait, Indonesia, can be accessed at

Species Citation

Scomber cordyla Linnaeus 1758, Systema Naturae 1 Ed. 10: 298. Type locality: East Indies.


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Finny Scad, Megalaspis cordyla (Linnaeus 1758)


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. & 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.

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

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

Gunn, J.S. 1990. A revision of selected genera of the family Carangidae (Pisces) from Australian waters. Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 12: 1-77.

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

Jadhav, T.D. & Mohite, S.A. 2013. Reproductive biology of Horse mackerel Megalaspis cordyla (Linnaeus, 1758) along Ratnagiri coast of Maharashtra, India. Marine Biological Association of India 55(2): 35-40.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna tria Naturae, secundem Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentis, Synonymis, Locis. Tom.1 Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii 824 pp.

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

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.

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

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 pp. 2069-2790.

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 2018. Juveniles of the Torpedo Scad, Megalaspis cordyla (Teleostei: Carangidae), schooling with venomous catfishes (Plotosidae): a new case of mimicry and an identification correction. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 30: 105–107

Smith-Vaniz, W.F., DeLoach, A. & DeLoach, N. 2018. Juveniles of the Bluespotted Trevally, Caranx bucculentus (Teleostei: Carangidae), schooling with venomous catfishes (Plotosidae): a new case of mimicry. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 30: 82-84. (misidentified as Caranx bucculentus)

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & Williams, I. 2016. Megalaspis cordyla. (errata version published in 2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T20432158A115380392. Downloaded on 17 September 2017.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37337028

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-100 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish


Max Size:80 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map