Scissortail Dartfish-Facts and Photographs

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The Scissortail Dartfish (Ptereleotris evides), is also known as the Blackfin Dartfish. They are very shy fish and are one of the more difficult fish to photograph well. As their name suggests are quick to dart into their burrows.


The Scissortail Dartfish has a tubular shaped body which tapers backwards. Their second dorsal fin is set far back and the anal fin extends forwards quite far matching the size of the second dorsal fin. The front part of the body is a sky blue color and there is a bright  blue iridescent line behind the eye on the gill cover and around the eye.  They grow up to 14cm in length .

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Adult Scissortail Dartfish are usually seen hovering half a meter or so above rubble or sandy areas of the reef. They are mainly seen in pairs but occasionally they are seen singular.  Normally they hover a meter or so above the substrate and dart upwards to feed on passing planktonic matter. When approached they either dart into a burrow or more usually swim off . When they swim off they tend to circle an area but any attempt to get close to them usually fails. Juveniles are seen in very large groups on shallow protected reefs in spring and early summer. Once the fish reach three to four centimeters in length these groups break up.

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The Scissortail Dartfish is found across the Indian ocean and in the west Pacific across to Japan . They are found between depths of 8-50 meters. More usually they are seen around 15 to 18 meters in depth. They prefer rubble and sand to the reef.

Scissortail Dartfish (Ptereleotris evides), is also known as the Blackfin DartfishScissortail Dartfish (Ptereleotris evides), is also known as the Blackfin Dartfish


The Scissortail Dartfish feed on zooplankton and as a result are mainly found in areas with a fair amount of current. They hover above their burrow facing into the current and wait for zooplankton to come to them. They make quick darting movements to grab passing titbits.

Scissortail Dartfish (Ptereleotris evides), is also known as the Blackfin Dartfish


Monogamous pairs are formed but very little seems known of their breeding habits. Some accounts have them keeping the eggs in the burrow tended by the males and others have them close to the burrow tended by both male and female.


The Scissortail Dartfish is a fairly popular aquarium fish. They are reef safe and have plenty of personality. Their preferred habitat is a sandy or rubble area surrounded by rocks or coral with some current and it is best to recreate this for them. They prefer moderate lighting. Often they will attempt to jump out the tank and as a result it is best if the tank is covered. Because of their burrowing habit one can provide them with ready made burrows made out of quarter inch plastic piping strategically placed for them to discover.
If one wishes to keep more than one it is best to buy a pair as individual fish may fight. It does not seem possible to sex them externally. They do well on a prepared diet of finely chopped and vitamin enriched crustaceans. Initially live brine shrimp can be used to entice them to eat. They have relatively small guts and need to be fed twice daily. Some care needs to be taken with their tank mates as they are not aggressive feeders and larger more aggressive feeders will out compete them. They are best with non aggressive fish. Aggressive fish will cause them to hide.


Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Gobiiformes
Family: Gobiidae
Genus: Ptereleotris
Species: P. evides