Overview

Brief Summary

The hatchetfishes (family Gasteropelecidae) include nine species of small, extremely compressed, deep-bodied fishes in three genera that are found, collectively, from Panama to the Río de la Plata in Argentina. Hatchetfishes have a highly developed pectoral fin musculature attached to the sternum; the chest muscles and sternum may account for as much as 25% of the animal’s weight. The resulting shape resembles a hatchet. The dorsal profile is nearly a straight line. (Berra 2007 and references therein)

Gasteropelecus maculatus, one of three known Gasteropelecus species, is found on the Pacific slopes of Panama and in the Pacific and Atlantic drainages of Colombia to the Maracaibo basin of Venezuela (Berra 2007 and references therein). These are popular aquarium fishes, but their proclivity for jumping makes a well covered enclosure essential.

  • Berra, T.M. Freshwater Fish Distribution. 2007. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Reis, R.E., S.O. Kullander, and C.J. Ferraris, Jr. 2003. Check list of the freshwater fishes of South and Central America. EDIPUCRS, Porto Alegre, Brasil.
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Comprehensive Description

Biology

Feeds on small crustaceans, larvae and mosquitoes (Ref. 26543). Aquarium specimens reach 9.0 cm TL (Ref. 1672).
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Distribution

Central and South America: eastern Panama through western Colombia.
  • Weitzman, S.H. and L. Palmer 2003 Gasteropelecidae (Freshwater hatchetfishes). p. 101-103. In R.E. Reis, S.O. Kullander and C.J. Ferraris, Jr. (eds.) Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of South and Central America. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS, Brasil. (Ref. 39056)
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Eastern Panama through western Colombia: Colombia and Panama.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 90 mm TL
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Max. size

6.4 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 39056))
  • Weitzman, S.H. and L. Palmer 2003 Gasteropelecidae (Freshwater hatchetfishes). p. 101-103. In R.E. Reis, S.O. Kullander and C.J. Ferraris, Jr. (eds.) Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of South and Central America. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS, Brasil. (Ref. 39056)
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

pelagic; freshwater; pH range: 6.0 - 7.0; dH range: 15
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Trophic Strategy

Feeds on small crustaceans, larvae and mosquitos.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Gasteropelecus maculatus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

aquarium: commercial
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