Leiognathus equula, Common ponyfish : fisheries, aquaculture

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Leiognathus equula (Forsskål, 1775)

Common ponyfish
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Leiognathus equula
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Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes(genus, species) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Teleostei (teleosts) > Acanthuriformes (Surgeonfishes) > Leiognathidae (Slimys, slipmouths, or ponyfishes) > Leiognathinae
Etymology: Leiognathus: Greek, leios = smooth + Greek, gnathos = jaw (Ref. 45335).
More on author: Forsskål.

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; demersal; amphidromous; depth range 10 - 110 m (Ref. 12260). Tropical; 26°C - 29°C (Ref. 4959); 30°N - 36°S, 27°E - 170°W

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea, Persian Gulf and East Africa (including Reunion, Comoros, Seychelles, Madagascar and Mauritius) to Fiji, north to the Ryukyu Islands, south to Australia.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 10.7  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 28.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9710); common length : 18.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 47581)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 8; Dorsal soft rays (total): 15-16; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 14 - 15. This species is distinguished by the following characters: body very deep, compressed, with a strongly humped back; body depth 1.7-1.9 times in standard length; mouth pointing downward when protracted; gill rakers short and fleshy, less than 1/2 length of corresponding gill lamellae, total gill rakers on first gill arch 18-22; head and breast scaleless; tubed scales on lateral line 61-66. Colour of adults, back greyish, belly silvery and many parallel close-set faint bars on back; usually a dark brown saddle on caudal peduncle; axil of pectoral fins grey to black; margin of soft dorsal fin black; both caudal-fin lobes with broad dusky margins; pectoral, pelvic, and anal fins colourless to yellowish. In juveniles (5-7 cm TL), thin, closely arranged, grey vertical lines descending from back to about midheight; membrane between anal-fin spines conspicuously yellow; posterior margin of caudal-fin lobes pale yellow and dusky; other fins hyaline; snout dotted black (Ref. 47581).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Found in river mouths and muddy inshore areas (Ref. 2847, 37816), often in mangrove areas (Ref. 48635). Adults are coastal inhabitants found on soft bottoms, usually between depths of 10-70 meters. Juveniles are commonly found in mangrove estuaries and tidal creeks, sometimes entering the lower reaches of freshwater streams (Ref. 44894). Adults move in schools. Frequently ascend into freshwater reaches of rivers (Ref. 12693). Active by day (Ref. 12693). Feed on polychaetes, small crustaceans, small fishes (Ref. 30573) and worms (Ref. 12693). Important food fish in the tropics (Ref. 4376). Caught near the bottom with bottom trawls, set nets, push nets, dip nets, and beach seines. In Indian waters, schools near the surface during April-May when caught with drift gill nets. Larger specimens sorted for human consumption and marketed fresh or dried-salted, but surplus fish used to feed ducks, converted to fishmeal, or discarded (Ref. 47581).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Woodland, David J. | Collaborators

James, P.S.B.R., 1984. Leiognathidae. In W. Fischer and G. Bianchi (eds.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51). Vol. 2. FAO, Rome. pag. var. (Ref. 3424)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 130435)

  Least Concern (LC) ; Date assessed: 02 July 2016


Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; aquaculture: commercial
FAO - Publication: search | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Common names
Spawning aggregation
Egg development
Aquaculture profile
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


Special reports

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Internet sources

AFORO (otoliths) | Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes: genus, species | DiscoverLife | ECOTOX | FAO - Publication: search | Faunafri | Fishipedia | Fishtrace | GenBank: genome, nucleotide | GloBI | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | National databases | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | Socotra Atlas | Tree of Life | Wikipedia: Go, Search | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record

Estimates based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 123201): 24.7 - 29.1, mean 28 °C (based on 1800 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804):  PD50 = 0.5039   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01660 (0.01308 - 0.02105), b=3.06 (2.99 - 3.13), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic level (Ref. 69278):  3.0   ±0.40 se; based on food items.
Generation time: 1.2 (0.9 - 1.6) years. Estimated as median ln(3)/K based on 11 growth studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179):  High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (K=0.35-1.88).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low vulnerability (17 of 100).
Price category (Ref. 80766):   High.
Nutrients (Ref. 124155):  Calcium = 209 [112, 444] mg/100g; Iron = 1.6 [0.9, 2.9] mg/100g; Protein = 18.9 [17.4, 20.5] %; Omega3 = 0.22 [0.12, 0.41] g/100g; Selenium = 73.2 [37.7, 156.1] μg/100g; VitaminA = 7.83 [2.57, 24.74] μg/100g; Zinc = 1.49 [1.02, 2.25] mg/100g (wet weight);