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Author: Rafinesque, 1810

Tetrapturus belone Rafinesque, 1810

Diagnosis: body moderately slender, bill fairly short and round in crosssection, nape almost straight and only gently sloping up to dorsal fin origin. Pectoral fins very short, about equal to post-orbital part of head; pelvic fins about twice as long; anterior lobe of first dorsal fin rounded, its height a little greater than body depth, with 39-46 finrays, second dorsal fin with 5-7 finrays; first anal fin with 11-15 finrays, second with 6-7 finrays; anus well in front of origin of first anal fin. Body densely covered with elongate scales, each with 3-5 posterior spines. Colour: back blue-black, lower flanks and belly silvery, the two abruptly demarcated; sometimes small vague vertical bars on flanks in young. Size: to about 2.4 m TL.

Habitat: epipelagic; heavily fished in Straits of Messina in August-September, occasionally in October-November. Food: pelagic fishes. Reproduction: Iittle data, presumed in winter or spring.

Distribution: Mediterranean (including Adriatic, but not into Black Sea), more common in central parts.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Lo Bianco, 1903: 127, 166, 238 | Ben-Tuvia, 1953 (figured as Istiophorus gladius, fig. 12) | Sparta, 1953: 58-62, pl. (identifications questionable) | Padoa, 1956: 513-516, pl. 36 | Sparta, 1961 | Cavaliere, 1962
Robins & de Sylva, 1963.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

Mediterranean spearfish (Tetrapturus belone)