trevallies, queenfish, scads etc.
Carangidae line image
  • Lateral line arched anteriorly, straight posteriorly
  • Scutes often present on caudal peduncle
  • 2 separate dorsal fins

Keys:

All keys adapted from FAO

Carangidae genera
    1. Posterior straight part of lateral line with hardened scutes; in adults, pectoral fins long and falcate, in most genera longer than head (about equal to head length in Selar, and shorter than head length in some Decapterus spp.)2
    2. No scutes in lateral line (only pored scales, not enlarged); pectoral fins relatively short, shorter than head (about 50–90% of head length)15
    1. Pelvic fins absent in most specimens >100 mm fork length, if present positioned distinctly anterior to a vertical line through pectoral-fin base; soft anal-fin rays 35–39Parastromateus niger
    2. Pelvic fins always present, not positioned distinctly anterior to a vertical through pectoral-fin base; soft anal-fin rays 15–313
    1. Scales on body minute, inconspicuous and embedded giving the impression of naked skin; in smaller fish, anterior soft rays of dorsal and anal fins filamentousAlectis
    2. Scales on body small but conspicuous, not embedded; in smaller fish, anterior soft rays of dorsal and anal fins not filamentous4
    1. Second dorsal and anal fins with 1 or more distinctly separate finlets5
    2. Second dorsal and anal fins without finlets6
    1. Single detached terminal 2-rayed finlet in dorsal and anal fins; shoulder girdle (cleithrum) margin with 2 papillae, the lower papilla larger; maximum scute height less than eye diameterDecapterus
    2. Posterior soft dorsal- and anal-fin rays consisting of 6–10 detached finlets; shoulder girdle margin smooth; maximum scute height larger than eye diameterMegalaspis cordyla
    1. Shoulder girdle (cleithrum) margin with a furrow ventrally, a large papilla immediately above it and a smaller papilla near upper edgeSelar
    2. Shoulder girdle margin smooth7
    1. Upper jaw without teeth8
    2. Upper jaw with 1 or 2 rows or a band of minute teeth (teeth difficult to detect in some Carangoides spp)9
    1. Lower jaw with a series of minute teeth; a prominent black opercular spot encroaching on shoulder; adipose eyelid well developed posteriorlySelaroides crumenophthalmus
    2. Lower jaw with a few fine teeth in specimens <100 mm fork length, absent in adults; no black opercular spot; adipose eyelid poorly developedGnathanodon speciosus
    1. Tongue, roof and floor of mouth white, the rest dark; anal-fin spines reabsorbed or reduced and immovable; no teeth on vomer or palatines Uraspis
    2. Lining of mouth not distinctly black and white; anal-fin spines normal and movable; teeth present on vomer and palatines10
    1. Fleshy adipose eyelid completely covering eye except for a vertical slit centred on pupil; terminal ray of dorsal and anal fins finlet-like, a little more separated from other rays but not detached, and about twice length of penultimate rayAtule mate
    2. Fleshy adipose eyelid, if present, not well developed anteriorly, most of anterior half of pupil exposed; terminal ray of dorsal and anal fins not finlet-like (except terminal ray length 1.5 times the length of penultimate ray in large Alepes djedeba)11
    1. Adipose eyelid well developed on posterior half of eye onlyAlepes
    2. Adipose eyelid absent or only moderately developed12
    1. Upper jaw with an outer series of moderate to strong canines and an inner band of fine teeth; lower jaw with a single row of teethCaranx
    2. Dentition not as above13
    1. Belly with a deep median groove, accommodating pelvic fins, anus, and anal-fin spines; pelvic fins conspicuously long and black, tip of appressed fins extending almost to origin of anal fin; curved lateral line short, chord of curved part of lateral line 1.5–2 times in straight partAtropus atropus
    2. Belly without median groove; pelvic fins not conspicuously long and black; curved lateral line moderate in most species, with chord of curved part of lateral line <1.5 times in straight part14
    1. Gill rakers long, feather-like, and project into mouth alongside tongue; total gill rakers 54–86 on first gill arch; lower jaw becoming prominent in large adults, with the angle of “chin” projecting beyond upper jawUlua
    2. Gill rakers of normal length and shape; total gill rakers 21–37 on first gill arch; shape of lower jaw not as aboveCarangoides
    1. Bases of soft dorsal and anal fins unequal in length, anal-fin base shorter and only about 45–70% of dorsal-fin base length; caudal-peduncle grooves present, dorsally and ventrally 16
    2. Base of soft anal fin as long as, or only slightly shorter than, base of dorsal fin; no caudal-peduncle grooves19
    1. Terminal 2-rayed finlet present in dorsal and anal fins; upper jaw ending distinctly before eye (to below anterior margin of eye in young)Elagatis bipinnulata
    2. No finlets in dorsal and anal fins; upper jaw ending below anterior margin of eye to posterior margin of eye17
    1. Upper jaw broadly rounded posteriorly and usually terminating below posterior margin of eye; gill rakers on first gill arch mostly consisting of rudiments, 4–10 total elementsSeriolina nigrofasciata
    2. Upper jaw truncate or slightly rounded posteriorly and terminating below about anterior margin of eye to middle of eye; gill rakers on first gill arch mostly well developed, 11–29 total elements18
    1. First dorsal fin with 4 or 5 spines; soft anal-fin rays 15–17; fleshy keel laterally on caudal peduncle well developedNaucrates ductor
    2. First dorsal fin with 7 or 8 spines (anterior spines may become completely embedded in large individuals); soft anal-fin rays 18–22; fleshy keel on caudal peduncle absentSeriola
    1. Posterior soft dorsal- and anal-fin rays consisting of semi-detached finlets; distal quarter to half of rays not connected by inter-radial membrane (unattached portion of rays increasing with growth); lower jaw of adults with 2 rows of conical teeth separated by a shallow groove; upper lip joined to snout at midline by a bridge of skin (frenum), except crossed by a shallow groove in very youngScomberoides
    2. Posterior soft dorsal- and anal-fin rays not consisting of semi-detached finlets; lower jaw without teeth or with band of small villiform teeth; upper lip separated from snout at midline by a continuous deep grooveTrachinotus
Alectis species
    1. Profile of nape and head broadly rounded; suborbital depth relatively narrow, contained 1.7–3 times in upper jaw length; gill rakers on lower limb of first arch (excluding rudiments) 12–17 Alectis ciliaris (Threadfin trevally)
    2. Profile of nape and head somewhat angular; suborbital depth relatively broad, contained 0.8–1 times in upper jaw length; gill rakers on lower limb of first arch (excluding rudiments) 21–26Alectis indica (Indian threadfish)
Alepes species
    1. Upper jaw anteriorly with 2 irregular rows of short conical teeth, posteriorly inner surface of jaw paved with blunt teethAlepes kleinii (Banded scad)
    2. Both jaws with a single row of numerous, comb-like teeth2
    1. Interradial membranes of spinous dorsal fin black; total gill rakers 24–30 on first archAlepes melanoptera (Blackfin scad)
    2. Interradial membranes of spinous dorsal fin transparent to dusky; total gill rakers 32–47 on first arch3
    1. Total gill rakers on first gill arch 38–47 (10–14 on upper limb, and 27–33 on lower limb); lateral line with 31–36 scales and 39–51 scutes (total 77–85); scutes larger; ultimate ray of dorsal and anal fins about 1.3–1.5 times the length of penultimate rayAlepes djedaba (Shrimp scad)
    2. Total gill rakers on first gill arch 32–38 (9–12 on upper limb, and 23–26 on lower limb; lateral line with 42–50 scales, 48–69 scutes (total 86–119); scutes smaller; ultimate and penultimate rays of dorsal and anal fins of equal lengthAlepes vari (Herring scad)
Carangoides species
    1. Breast completely scaly or with a small, median naked area ventrally, scarcely if at all visible in lateral view2
    2. Breast partially to completely naked4
    1. Second dorsal fin with a conspicuous black blotch or submarginal band; vomerine tooth patch anchor-shaped, with a long median posterior extensionCarangoides praeustus (Barcheek tervally)
    2. Second dorsal fin without a conspicuous black blotch or submarginal band; vomerine tooth patch without a distinct median posterior extension3
    1. Soft anal-fin rays 18–20; posterior margin of preopercle outlined in black, at least in adults; scutes 11–18Carangoides plagiotaenia
    2. Soft anal-fin rays 21–24; posterior margin of preopercle not black; scutes 20–30Carangoides bajad (Orangespotted trevally)
    1. Naked area of breast separated from naked base of pectoral fins by a broad band of scales5
    2. Naked area of breast uninterrupted to naked base of pectoral fins11
    1. Second dorsal fin with a conspicuous black blotch anteriorly; vomerine tooth patch anchor-shaped, with a long median posterior extensionCarangoides praeustus (Brownback trevally)
    2. Second dorsal fin without a conspicuous black blotch; vomerine tooth patch without a distinct posterior extension6
    1. Soft dorsal-fin rays 25–34; soft anal-fin rays 21–267
    2. Soft dorsal-fin rays 17–23; soft anal-fin rays 15–19 9
    1. Naked area of breast extends posteroventrally well beyond origin of pelvic finsCarangoides fulvoguttatus (Yellowspotted trevally)
    2. Naked area of breast does not extend posteroventrally beyond origin of pelvic fins8
    1. Usually 5 or 6 distinct dusky bands on sides of adults and yellow or orange spots on sides, if present, small, numerous and mostly above lateral line; lips not papillose in adultsCarangoides ferdau (Blue trevally)
    2. Dark bands usually absent on sides of adults and several relatively large, oblong yellow spots with dark centres present mostly below lateral line; lips finely papillose in adultsCarangoides orthogrammus (Island trevally)
    1. Straight part of lateral line slightly longer than curved part; scutes 37–45 Carangoides oblongus (Coachwhip trevally)
    2. Straight part of lateral line slightly shorter than curved part; scutes 16–3810
    1. No small dark blotches on dorsum between bases of dorsal-fin raysCarangoides coeruleopinnatus (Coastal trevally)
    2. Small dark blotches (becoming larger posteriorly) on dorsum between bases of dorsal-fin raysCarangoides dinema (Shadow trevally)
    1. Soft dorsaI-fin rays 25–32 (rarely 25)12
    2. Soft dorsal-fin rays 17–2313
    1. Profile of snout angular and, in specimens >300 mm fork length, horizontal line from tip of snout distinctly below level of eye; soft anal-fin rays 21–26 (rarely 25 or 26); total gill rakers on first gill arch (including rudiments) 22–27 (6–8 on upper limb, and 17–21 on lower limb)Carangoides fulvoguttatus (Yellowspotted trevally)
    2. Profile of snout moderately rounded and, in specimens >300 mm fork length, horizontal line from tip of snout at or through level of eye; soft anal-fin rays 24–26 (usually 25); total gill rakers on first gill arch (including rudiments) 27–31 (7–9 on upper limb, and 19–22 on lower limb)Carangoides gymnostethus (Bludger trevally)
    1. Small area naked of scales anteriorly just above pectoral-fin base14
    2. Area anteriorly just above pectoral-fin base completely scaly15
    1. Total gill rakers on first gill arch (including rudiments) 32–38 (8–12 on upper limb, and 21–27 on lower limb); tongue greyish brown to brownCarangoides malabaricus (Malabar trevally
    2. Total gill rakers on first gill arch (including rudiments) 27–31 (6–9 on upper limb, and 19–22 on lower limb); tongue white to pale greyCarangoides talamparoides (Imposter trevally)
    1. Small dark blotches (becoming larger posteriorly) on back between bases of dorsal-fin rays; naked area of breast typically does not extend posteroventrally beyond origin of pelvic fins; soft dorsal-fin rays 17–19Carangoides dinema (Shadow trevally)
    2. Colour pattern not as above; naked area of breast extends posteroventrally well beyond origin of pelvic fins; soft dorsal-fin rays 18–2316
    1. Total gill rakers on first gill arch (including rudiments) 31–37Carangoides armatus (Longfin trevally)
    2. Total gill rakers on first gill arch (including rudiments) 20–2717
    1. Adults with a steep dorsal head profile, and with a distinct break (“bump”) in profile in the interorbital region; 3–8 (usually 5–7) of central soft rays of dorsal and anal fins elongated in adult males (>170 mm fork length); eye diameter about equal to, or larger than snout length Carangoides hedlandensis (Bumpnose trevally)
    2. Dorsal head profile not as steep in adults, and no distinct break (“bump”) in profile in the interorbital region; central soft rays of dorsal and anal fins not elongated in adult males; eye diameter slightly to much smaller than snout length18
    1. Dorsal profile of snout gently sloped, then abruptly vertical just above mouth cleft; soft dorsal-fin rays 18–20; soft anal-fin rays 15–17Carangoides chrysophrys (Longnose trevally)
    2. Dorsal profile of snout not as above; soft dorsal-fin rays 20–23 (usually 22 or 23); soft anal-fin rays 16–20 (usually 18 or 19)Carangoides coeruleopinnatus (Coastal trevally)
Caranx species
    1. Breast completely scaly2
    2. Breast naked ventrally, frequently with small patch of prepelvic scales6
    1. Body coloration essentially uniform grey to brown; lobe of dorsal fin relatively long, 2.3–5.3 times in fork length; profile of head relatively steep and angularCaranx lugubris (Black jack)
    2. Body coloration not as above; lobe of dorsal fin contained 4.2–8.8 times in fork length; profile of head not noticeably steep and angular3
    1. Small black spots scattered on head and body (forming at ~160–220 mm fork length); snout length 9.2–12.7 times in fork length; total gill rakers on first gill arch (including rudiments) 25–29 (usually 26 or 27), and total soft dorsal- and anal-fin rays 39–44Caranx melampygus (Bluefin trevally)
    2. No small black spots scattered on head and body; snout length contained 13.1–18.4 times in fork length; total gill rakers on first gill arch (including rudiments) 22–25 (except 24–27 in C. heberi which has 34–38 total soft dorsal- and anal-fin rays)4
    1. No small black spot present on upper margin of opercle; upper lobe of caudal fin frequently with distal half noticeably dark or black, especially in juveniles; in adults, adipose eyelid only slightly developedCaranx heberi (Blacktip trevally)
    2. A small, black spot present on upper margin of opercle; upper lobe of caudal fin usually uniformly pigmented; in adults, adipose eyelid well developed, especially posteriorly5
    1. In adults, dorsal-fin lobe without white tip; dorsal profile of head strongly convex and a black spot on upper margin of opercle, in adults, at least ½ the diameter of pupil; in specimens >150 mm fork length, postorbital head length longer, 5.7–7.3 times in fork length, and dorsal-fin lobe shorter, 5.7–8.8 times in fork lengthCaranx tille (Tille trevally)
    2. In adults, dorsal-fin lobe with white tip; dorsal profile of head moderately convex and black spot on upper margin of opercle, its size in adults no larger than twice the diameter of pupil; in specimens >150 mm fork length, postorbital head length shorter, 6.4–8.2 times in fork length, and dorsal-fin lobe longer, 5–6.6 times in fork length Caranx sexfasciatus (Bigeye trevally)
    1. Naked area of breast uninterrupted to naked base of pectoral fins; curved part of lateral line short, chord of curved part 2.5–3.3 times in straight part; scutes largerCaranx bucculentus (Bluespotted trevally)
    2. Naked area of breast separated from naked base of pectoral fins by a broad band of scales; curved part of lateral line moderate, with chord of curved part contained less than 1.5 times in straight part; scutes smaller7
    1. Total gill rakers on first gill arch (including rudiments) 20–24; body silvery to black; in specimens >150 mm fork length, body depth 2.5–3.2 times in fork lengthCaranx ignobilis (Giant trevally)
    2. Total gill rakers on first gill arch (including rudiments) 23–30 (rarely 23); body bronze to yellow-green; in specimens >150 mm fork length, body depth 2.7–3.8 times in fork length8
    1. Total soft dorsal- and anal-fin rays 34–38 (rarely 38); upper lobe of caudal fin frequently with distal half noticeably dark or black (especially in juveniles), and posterior margin of lower lobe without a narrow white border; no pale spot on shoulder just behind posterodorsal margin of opercle; adults without small black spotsCaranx heberi (Blacktip trevally)
    2. Total soft dorsal- and anal-fin rays 37–41 (rarely 37); upper lobe of caudal fin usually uniformly pigmented, and posterior margin of lower lobe with a narrow white border; in life a conspicuous pale spot, approximately the diameter of pupil, on shoulder just behind posterodorsal margin of opercle; adults with small black spots on body above lateral line (forming at ~250 mm fork length)Caranx papuensis (Brassy trevally)
Decapterus species
    1. Posterior end of upper jaw concave above, rounded and produced below; straight part of lateral line with 14–29 scalesDecapterus macrosoma (Shortfin scad)
    2. Posterior end of upper jaw straight above, straight to slightly concave below; straight part of lateral line with 0–15 scales (except 18–39 scales in D. macarellus)2
    1. Posterior end of upper jaw noticeably slanted anteroventrally; straight part of lateral line with 18–39 scales and 24–40 scutes (total 52–67); pectoral fins usually shorter in adults, 58–72% head length; oral valve (membrane) at symphysis of upper jaw conspicuously whiteDecapterus macarellus (Mackerel scad)
    2. Posterior end of upper jaw not as noticeably slanted anteroventrally; straight part of lateral line with 0–10 scales and 30–40 scutes (total 30–49); pectoral fins usually longer in adults, 71–105% head length (except 62–83% in D. tabl); oral valve (membrane) at symphysis of upper jaw dusky or transparent3
    1. Scutes relatively small; curved part of lateral line with 61–73 scales; straight part of lateral line with 4–12 anterior scales; total lateral-line scales and scutes (excluding scales on caudal fin) 103–118; caudal fin redDecapterus tabl (Roughear scad)
    2. Scutes relatively large; curved part of lateral line with 42–62 scales; straight part of lateral line with 0–4 anterior scales; total lateral-line scales and scutes (excluding scales on caudal fin) 77–102; caudal fin dusky or red4
    1. Caudal fin hyaline to dusky; gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch usually 32–39; soft anal-fin rays (including finlet) 25–29 (rarely 25); eye usually smallerDecapterus russelli (Indian scad)
    2. Caudal fin red; gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch usually 26–32; soft anal-fin rays (including finlet) 22–26 (rarely 26); eye usually largerDecapterus kurroides (Redtail scad)
Scomberoides species
    1. Total gill rakers on first gill arch 8–15; scales on midbody below lateral line broadly oblong or blunty lanceolate; lobe of dorsal fin uniformly pigmented2
    2. Total gill rakers on first gill arch 21–27; scales on midbody below lateral line sharply lanceolate or needle-like; distal half of dorsal-fin lobe abruptly and heavily pigmented3
    1. Upper jaw extends well beyond posterior margin of eye, especially in adults; in adults, teeth of inner and outer rows in lower jaw subequal in size; large oval blotches above or touching lateral lineScomberoides commersonnianus (Talang queenfish)
    2. Upper jaw extends slightly beyond posterior margin of eye; in adults, inner row of teeth in lower jaw distinctly larger than those in outer row; vertically elongate blotches intersecting lateral lineScomberoides tala (Barred queenfish)
    1. Scales on mid-body below lateral line sharply lanceolate; in adults, upper jaw extends to or slightly beyond posterior margin of eye; a double series of 6–8 dusky, roundish blotches above and below lateral line, occasionally connected by narrow isthmusScomberoides lysan (Doublespotted queenfish)
    2. Scales on mid-body below lateral line slender, needle-like; in adults, upper jaw does not extend to posterior margin of eye; oval or vertically oblong dark blotches, the first 4 or 5 intersecting lateral line Scomberoides tol (Needleskin queenfish)
Selar species
    1. Curved part of lateral line with 48–56 scales; curved part of lateral line moderate, with chord of curved part contained 0.7–1.2 times in straight part; scutes smallerSelar crumenophthalmus (Bigeye scad)
    2. Curved part of lateral line with 21–24 scales; curved part of lateral line short, chord of curved part contained 2.1–3 times in straight part; scutes largerSelar boops (Oxeye scad)
Seriola species
    1. In adults, length of dorsal-fin lobe about 1.3–1.6 times longer than pectoral fins and 18–22% of fork length; in specimens >200 mm fork length, total gill rakers on first gill arch (excluding rudiments) 22–26Seriola rivoliana (Highfin amberjack)
    2. In adults, length of dorsal-fin lobe about equal to, or slightly longer than pectoral fins and 13–18% of fork length; in specimens >200 mm fork length, total gill rakers on first gill arch (excluding rudiments) 11–19Seriola dumerilii (Greater amberjack)
Trachinotus species
    1. 1–7 spots in a longitudinal row on or near lateral line (spots absent on specimens <10–13 cm fork length); soft dorsal-fin rays 21–252
    2. No spots in a longitudinal row on or near lateral line; soft dorsal-fin rays 18–233
    1. In adults, all spots equal to, or smaller than eye diameter, and with about half of spot below lateral line; gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch (including rudiments) 15–19; vomerine tooth patch chevron-shapedTrachinotus baillonii (Smallspotted dart)
    2. In adults, anterior 2 spots larger than eye diameter and at least two-thirds of spot above lateral line; gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch (including rudiments) 11–15; vomerine tooth patch oval or narrowly triangularTrachinotus botla (Largespotted dart)
    1. Soft dorsal- and anal-fin rays 21–23 and 19–21, respectively; body often with a black oval-shaped blotch in axillary base under pectoral finsTrachinotus africanus (Southern pompano)
    2. Soft dorsal- and anal-fin rays 18–20 and 16–18, respectively; body uniformly pigmented in axillary base under pectoral finsTrachinotus blochii (Snubnose dart)
Ulua species
    1. Total gill rakers on first gill arch 54–61 (16–21 on upper limb, and 37–41 on lower limb); tongue with central band of villiform teeth; in specimens <150 mm fork length, first anal-fin ray produced but not filamentous, not extending beyond caudal peduncleUlua aurochs (Silvermouth trevally)
    2. Total gill rakers on first gill arch 74–86 (23–27 on upper limb, and 51–61 on lower limb); tongue without central band of villiform teeth; in specimens <150 mm fork length, first anal-fin ray filamentous, extending beyond caudal peduncleUlua mentalis (Longrakered trevally)
Uraspis species
    1. Naked area of breast extends uninterrupted to naked base of pectoral fins; scales in curved part of lateral line 61–82Uraspis uraspis (Whitemouth trevally)
    2. Naked area of breast separated from naked base of pectoral fins by a broad band of scales; scales in curved part of lateral line 48–66Uraspis secunda (Cottonmouth trevally)