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Garfish Ablennes hians (Cuvier and Valenciennes) 1846

[Jordan and Evermann, 1896-1900, p. 718, Athlennes hians.[8]]

Garfish (Ablennes hians)

Figure 80.—Garfish (Ablennes hians), specimens from North Truro, Mass., and from Acapulco Mexico. Drawing by H. B. Bigelow.


This gar resembles the silver gar (Tylosurus) closely in general appearance, as well as in the nature and arrangement of its fins; especially in the fact that the rear parts of its dorsal and caudal fins can be depressed and almost completely concealed in a groove, with the forward parts still remaining erect. But its body is so strongly flattened sidewise as to be less than one-half as thick as it is deep, instead of about as thick as deep, or thicker, as it is in the silver gar. The dorsal fin, also, arises farther back relative to the anal fin, than is the case in the silver gar. The tail fin is broadly forked, the dorsal and anal fins deeply concave.


Back greenish with bluish green reflections; lower part of sides bright silvery, also the abdomen; snout greenish; dorsal fin mostly greenish, but with the rays black-tipped; tail fin greenish. Some individuals have the sides plain silvery, but others are marked with dark blotches or indistinct sooty or blue crossbars.[9]


Up to 3 feet long, or more.

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General range and occurrence in the Gulf of Maine—

Widespread in tropical seas;[10] Brazil to Chesapeake Bay in the western Atlantic, and northward as a stray to Cape Cod. A specimen of this tropical fish, about 231/2 inches (594 mm.) long to the fork of the tail, was taken in a fish trap on the shore of Cape Cod Bay at North Truro, Mass., on August 15, 1949.[11]

[8] The original spelling was Athlennes (Jordan and Fordice, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus., vol. 9, 1886, p. 342). But Jordan and Evermann (Bull. 47, U.S. Nat. Mus., Pt. 1, 1896, p. 717, footnote) state that "Ablennnes" was intended.

[9] Smith (Sea Fishes of Southern Africa, 1949, pl. 7, fig. 26) gives a colored illustration of one with blue crossbars.

[10] We have seen specimens from Acapulco, west coast of Mexico; Panama; Mauritius; and Zanzibar.

[11] This specimen was presented to the Museum of Comparative Zoology by John Worthington of the Pond Village Cold Storage Co., North Truro, Mass.