Spotfin Hatchetfish

Spotfin Hatchetfish Thoracocharax stellatus

Type of Animal:

Blackwater/clearwater streams w/ abundant vegetation, backwaters w/ abundant vegetation, tributaries w/ abundant vegetation, oxbows w/ abundant vegetation, inundated floodplains w/ abundant vegetation, still/stagnant waters, marshes, small lakes

South America

Small silver fish, heavily-keeled body shape, deep flat body, unusual body shape w/ large muscular convex ventral area, females rounder/larger than males, long pectoral fins

Insects, insect larvae, crustaceans, bloodworms, daphnia

Status in Wild:

Breeding in aquariums, zoos, & aquaculture. Extremely difficult to breed.

Schools of at least 8 fish

Additional Info:

Young: Fry
Group: School

1.5 days 

Life Span:
2-3 years

Body Length:
Male: 2.36 in
Female: 2.75 in

Main predators are birds & other fish.
These are very shy & flighty fish.
Sometimes kept in home aquariums.
These fish tend to be found at the surface.
Sometimes called Silver Hatchetfish & Platinum Hatchetfish.
Females have 1.375 in pectoral fins, males have 1.18 in pectoral fins.
Females scatter eggs as they lay them.
They usually spawn in substrate.
Active during the day (diurnal).

Fun Fact(s):
Hatchetfish name comes from head being somewhat shaped like a hatchet head.
Strong pectoral fins make these fish amazing jumpers & they’re able to leap out of water. They’ll especially do this when frightened, threatened, or catching insects. They’ve been seen leaping 2.95 ft out of water.
When these fish leap out of water, fins produce humming sound.
Before taking flight, these fish have been observed hydroplaning for more than 32.8 ft.
Thoracharax part of scientific name derives from Greek word meaning “breastplate” & generic name Charax derived from Ancient Greek word meaning “palisade of pointed sticks,” referring to densely packed sharp teeth. Stellatus part is Latin for starry, referring to fish’s shiny appearance.

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