Pilot Fish

Naucrates ductor

Pilot Fish

Naucrates ductor
Least Concern
Naucrates ductor

Characteristics and Behavior:

Pilot fish are slender, elongated fish with a distinctive silver to dark blue coloration. They have a series of 5 to 7 vertical black bars on their body. These fish are known for their cooperative behavior and often swim alongside larger marine creatures, such as sharks, rays, and sea turtles. They have a specialized, sucker-like fin on their belly, which allows them to attach to their hosts for protection and access to food scraps.



Fun Facts:

  1. Marine Hitchhikers: Pilot fish are known for their symbiotic relationship with larger marine creatures. They often swim alongside their hosts, providing cleaning services by removing parasites and dead skin from their hosts.
  2. Highly Agile: These fish are agile swimmers and use their host's movements to their advantage, feeding on scraps of prey caught by the host.
  3. Schooling Behavior: Pilot fish often form schools or groups, further enhancing their protective and feeding capabilities when attached to larger animals.

Other Information

How to help

Learn more

Yarrell, William (1841). A History of British Fishes (2nd. ed.). John van Voorst. p. 170. The pilot-fish has been so often seen, and occasionally taken on our southern coast, as to be entitled to a place among British Fishes[.]

Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2019). "Naucrates ductor" in FishBase. August 2019 version.