Strongylura leiura, also known as Banded long-tom, is a species of the family Belonidae belonging to the order Beloniformes. It inhabits the coastal waters as well as the estuaries of the vast Indo-Pacific region, from South Africa in the east, following the eastern coasts of Africa, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, and the coasts of Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Australia in the Pacific Ocean. Juveniles of this species usually inhabit the confined waters associated with the mangroves of these areas.
Its characteristic very elongated body (up to 73 cm), is compressed laterally adopting an almost rectangular section. This, along with its long, pointed jaws with sharp teeth, makes it a species that will not go unnoticed. They have a dorsal fin in a very terminal position, which is formed by between 17 and 21 rays. The origin of this fin is later than the origin of the anal fin. The anal fin is formed by 23-25 rays. The anterior parts of both the dorsal and anal fins form lobes that are higher than the rest of the fins. The ends of these lobes are yellowish, with a certain shade of black in the middle of the lobe. The pectoral fins are pointed and triangular in shape, with 10 to 11 rays and a dark spot, and the ends are yellowish. The pelvic fins are small in size and whitish in color. Finally, the caudal fin is truncated and dark with a yellowish tone in the upper lobe. As for the general coloration of the body, and beyond the fins, is greenish on the dorsal side and upper flanks, while the lower flanks are silvery or white.
Strongylura leiura is a predatory species, which occasionally reaches considerable speeds that it uses to capture its prey among which we find other fish, crustaceans and invertebrates in general.Photos: