Language English Photo: Biodôme Photo: Biodôme OngletsDescriptionDistinguishing featuresThis silver-colored fish is flattened from side to side. The back is flat, while the belly is very rounded. Its mouth opens upward. The lateral line curves downward. Its pectoral fins are long, very powerful, and give the hatchetfish the impression of having wings. ReproductionThere is very little information about spotfin hatchetfish reproduction. Nevertheless, we know that it breeds during the rainy season and that the female scatters her eggs with the current. DietThe spotfin hatchetfish feeds almost exclusively on terrestrial insects. At dawn and at dusk it stays close to banks where plant life is most prolific. Immobile under the surface of the water, it can catch little insects that fall in and drown. PredatorsSmall in size, the spotfin hatchetfish is preyed on by numerous birds and by fish that are a lot bigger. The spotfin hatchetfish and many other fish in the Amazon basin supply an important market: aquarium owners around the world ($12 million a year). HabitatThe spotfin hatchetfish is a tropical freshwater fish found in a great many rivers in South America. It’s found mostly in small forest streams as well as flood plains, and is especially partial to places with an abundance of surface vegetation. A portion of its habitat has already been destroyed by dams built on certain rivers in the Amazon. Ecology, behaviourThis fish lives in schools just under the surface of the water. Contrary to popular belief, it does not hurl itself out of the water to catch its prey. It does that only to escape a predator. Its broad pectoral fins enable it to make leaps over ten meters long. French namePoisson-hachette argenté Scientific nameThoracocharax stellatusPhylumChordataClassOsteichthyes (bony fish)OrderCharaciformesFamilyGasteropelecidaeSizeLength: 7 to 8 cmLife spanAbout 5 yearsStatusUnevaluated, but widespread throughout its range.