Swallow-tailed dart

  • Swallow-tailed dart (Trachinotus coppingeri)
    Swallow-tailed dart (Trachinotus coppingeri)
Scientific name

Trachinotus coppingeri

Other names
  • southern swallowtail
  • surf trevally
  • southern dart.
Frequent misidentifications
  • small spotted dart.
  • adults have bluish-black back and silvery belly (when alive)
  • usually six or seven vertically elongated oval blotches on sides (some larger than eye) varying in location and intensity in a longitudinal row on or near lateral line with at least two-thirds above lateral line. First two spots are above the pectoral fins (number of spots generally increases with age; absent on fish smaller than about 10-13 cm fork length)
  • second dorsal fin and anal fin dusky to bluish-black, lobes usually darkest
  • caudal fin is dusky, with leading edges and most of lobes blue-black
  • pectoral fins are pale, with upper two-thirds sometimes dark
  • pelvic fins are white.
  • inhabits shallow coastal waters, often in the rough surf zone along sandy beaches
  • Gladstone and further south.
  • 30 cm common total length
  • 34.5 cm fork length on largest specimen examined.
Size and possession limits
  • minimum size, 30cm
  • possession limit, 30.
How to distinguish from small spotted dart
  • in adults, all spots are vertically elongated ovals with some spots larger than eye diameter; at least two-thirds of each spot above lateral line; anterior (front) two spots located above pectoral fins. 

Further information

Last updated 23 October 2009