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
Description
  • 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
Distribution
  • inhabits shallow coastal waters, often in the rough surf zone along sandy beaches
  • Gladstone and further south
Size
  • 30 cm common total length
  • 34.5 cm fork length on largest specimen examined
Size and possession limits
  • minimum size: 30cm
  • possession limit: 30
  • this species, along with amberjack, giant queenfish, highfin amberjack, samsonfish and yellowtail kingfish are excluded from the combined possession limit of 20 which generally applies to members of the Carangidae family (including but not limited to trevallies, queenfishes, scads, darts and kingfishes)
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