Cornetfish Family Photos and Information – Fistualariidae

The Cornetfish Family – Fistualariidae

Two members of the Cornetfish or Fistualariidae Family, both from the Pacific are included in this website:

Deepwater Cornetfish, Fistularia corneta.

Reef Cornetfish, Fistularia commersonii.

The fish of the Cornetfish or Fistualariidae Family are known in Mexico’s fishing areas as cornetas. There are a total of five global members of the family four of which occur in Mexican waters, two in the Atlantic and two in the Pacific. They are closely related to the Trumpetfish (Aulostomidae), which are more robust and lack the caudal filament.

The Cornetfish are medium-sized fish that range in size from 70 cm (28 inches) to 1.60 meters (5 feet 2 inches). Their bodies are extremely elongated and depressed and they have very long tubular snouts that have a hexagonal cross section with a short oblique terminal mouth equipped with minute teeth. Their anal and dorsal fins are identical and feature 14 to 17 segmented soft rays; they are found at the rear of the body and directly opposite each other. Their caudal fin is forked with a long central filament produced by the middle two caudal fin rays. Their pelvic fins, which have 6 rays, are on the abdomen located well behind their pectoral fins, which have 13 to 17 rays. They have a lateral line that is arched on the front half of the body and continues into the tail filament.

Cornetfish species vary in color from red-brown to gray-green, with a lighter color on their undersides. Their habitat varies from coastal areas (soft bottoms) to rocky and coral areas. They are stalking predators that actively hunt such ecologically diverse species as small blennioids, halfbeaks, herrings, and snake eels.

Cornetfish are taken as a by-catch of deepwater trawlers and sold commercially in some fish markets. Although edible, they provide limited amounts of meat and are thus primarily used in fishmeal.

Due to their elongated and depressed bodies and their very long tubular snouts, the Cornetfish cannot be confused with any other species.