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 .
SCISSORTAIL DARTFISH IN THE WILD
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.
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.
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.
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.
SCISSORTAIL DARTFISH CLASSIFICATION
Species: P. evides
- The Reef Guide fishes, corals, nudibranchs & other invertebrates: East and South Coasts of Southern Africa by Dennis King & Valda Fraser