The Needlefishes are fishes generally of fine and elongated body, in which their mouth stands out. The upper jaw is fixed and usually thin and elongated. Its fins are characterized by the absence of spiny rays, and the position of the anal, dorsal and ventral fins is posterior. Needlefishes are agile and very fast in the water, where they move close to the surface. Many species, known as flying fish, have highly developed pectoral fins, which together with their speed near the surface allow them to glide out of the water, reaching air speeds of between 50-60 km/h. Out of the water they can move considerable distances, generally about 50 meters, although there are records of up to 400 meters.

Their food consists mainly of Algae, plankton and small fish. Slightly more than 280 species of Needlefishes are known, which are grouped into two suborders, 6 families and 34 genera. Although the great majority of species are marine, approximately 90 species live in fresh waters.