Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pilot fish fact sheet

Naucrates ductor Pilot fish

The pilt fish is cosmopolitan pelagic (open water) fish. It has an elongated body that varies in colouration from dark blue to silvery black. The body is marked with six to seven dark vertical lines which become less apparent with age. They can grow to 40 cm in length (maximum 70 cm). As juveniles they feed on plankton and as adults they eat the parasites of their hosts (ectoparasites, food scraps and excrements, as well as small fish and invertebrates. The pilot fish got its name as they often accompany a host, like sharks, rays and turtles. They can be found in depths between 0 to 30 m and are typically found in warm tropical to subtropical waters around the world. In the Azores, pilot fish are not consumed nor targeted by the fisheries. Atlantic stocks appear to be healthy, although they have not been evaluated. 

In other languages
Portuguese: Peixe piloto
Spanish: Pez piloto
French: Poisson-pilote
Italian:  Pesce pilota
German: Lotsenfisch
Dutch: loodsmannetje
Swedish: Lotsfisk
Norwegian: Losfisk
Danish: - 
Finnish: - 
Polish: Przynawek retman

Video of a loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) followed by pilot fish

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