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Author: Linnaeus, 1761

Belone belone Linnaeus, 1761

Diagnosis: vomerine teeth usually present in larger specimens but frequently absent in specimens less than 20 cm BL (28 cm SL). Jaw teeth comparatively large and widely spaced (6-15 in a distance equal to an orbit's length on middle of upper jaw). Dorsal finrays 16-20; anal finrays 19-23; pectoral finrays 11-14. Gillrakers 27-40 on first arch. Vertebrae 75-84. Morphometrically similar to B. svetovidovi but has a heavier and less compressed body and wider inter-orbital width. Size: to 62 cm BL, which equals about 90 cm SL.

Habitat: epipelagic, neritic. Food: small fishes, particularly clupeids and Engraulis (in the Black Sea). Reproduction: spawns in coastal waters from May to June in the British Isles, February—May in Algeria, April-September in Black Sea; eggs attached to vegetation and floating objects by sticky threads. Commercial importance: exploited in the Black Sea and Mediterranean.

Distribution: restricted to north-eastern Atlantic. Occurs from Trondheim (Norway) (occasional strays as far north as White Sea, Murman coast, and southern Iceland), southwards to Madeira and the Canaries, also in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Subspecies

Belone belone belone (Linnaeus, 1761): greatest number of vertebrae (79-84, x 82.4); dorsal finrays (16-20, x 18.1); attains the largest size (up to 90 cm SL). Occurs from France northwards.
Eggs, larvae and young stages. Ehrenbaum, 1905-1909, 1905: 134-136, fig. 61; 1936: 73, fig. 49 | Raffaele, 1895: 127 | Marinaro, 1971: 22, pl. 111, fig. 5-6.
Otoliths (sagitta). Fryd, 1901: 25 | Frost, 1926: 471, pl. 20 (fig. 22).

Belone belone gracilis Lowe, 1839: moderate number of vertebrae (76-83, x 80.3) in southern north-east Atlantic, and (76-81, x 78.4) in the Mediterranean); dorsal finrays (16-19 x 17.5); size medium (up to about 70 cm SL). Occurs south of France and in the Mediterranean.
Eggs, larvae and young stages. D'Ancona, 1931d: 157-160, pl. 8 (fig. 1-8), pl. 9 (fig. 1-9).
Otoliths (sagitta). Sanz Echeverría, 1926: 148, fig. 4 | Bauzá-Rullán, 1957: 39, pl. 2 (fig. 25-29).

Belone belone euxini Günther, 1866: fewest vertebrae (75-80, x 78.0); dorsal finrays (17-20, x 18.0); the smallest size (up to 56 cm SL). Occurs in Black and Azov seas.
Eggs, larvae and young stages. Vodjanitzki & Kazanova, 1954: 305, fig. 47 | Avedikova, 1954: 47-67, fig. 1-5.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

Garfish (Belone belone)