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Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Osteichthyes
Classis: Actinopterygii
Subclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Superordo: Ostariophysi
Ordo: Characiformes
Familia: Gasteropelecidae
Genera: Carnegiella - Gasteropelecus - Thoracocharax


* Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2006. FishBase, version (02/2006). [1]

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Beilbauchsalmler
English: Freshwater hatchetfish
Lietuvių: Pstrążeniowate

The freshwater hatchetfishes are a family, Gasteropelecidae, of ray-finned fish. The common hatchetfish is the most popular member among fish keeping hobbyists. The family includes three genera: Carnegiella (4 species), Gasteropelecus (3 species), and Thoracocharax (2 species).

Distribution and habitat

Freshwater hatchetfishes originate from Panama and South America (though they are absent from Chile). They tend to be an upper-level fish, often swimming directly below the surface of the water.


The most obvious trait of the freshwater hatchetfish is their enormously enlarged sternal region. This is accompanied by large pectoral fins and "extraordinarily powerful" associated muscles which "account for up to 1/4 the total body weight". "Quick beats of the pectoral fins" allow hatchetfish to "lift themselves half out of the water and glide along the surface ... Some species can even leave the water for short stretches"[1] Because of this ability to fly and tendency to jump, aquariums used to house hatchetfish should have a cover which is tightly sealed to prevent these fish from escaping.

Genera and species

* Genus Carnegiella (Eigenmann, 1909)
o Blackwinged hatchetfish, Carnegiella marthae
o Pygmy hatchetfish, Carnegiella myersi
o Dwarf hatchetfish, Carnegiella schereri
o Marbled hatchetfish, Carnegiella strigata
* Genus Gasteropelecus (Scopoli, 1777)
o Silver hatchetfish, Gasteropelecus levis
o Spotted hatchetfish, Gasteropelecus maculatus
o Common hatchetfish, Gasteropelecus sternicla
* Genus Thoracocharax (Fowler, 1907)
o Greater hatchetfish, Thoracocharax securis
o Spotfin hatchetfish, Thoracocharax stellatus


1. ^ Frey, Hans (1961). Illustrated Dictionary of Tropical Fishes. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications Inc.. pp. 354–5. ISBN 0876661576.

Additional reading

* "Gasteropelecidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=163118.
* Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Gasteropelecidae" in FishBase. Mar 2007 version.
* Nelson, Joseph S. (2006). Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0471250317

Biology Encyclopedia

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License