Pacific Agujón, Tylosurus pacificus
The Pacific Agujón, Tylosurus pacificus, whose common Spanish name is agujón del Pacifico, is a species in the Needlefish or Belonidae Family, known collectively as agujónes in Mexico. Globally, there are six species in the genus Tylosurus, three of which are found in Mexican waters, two in both the Atlantic and the Pacific and one in just the Pacific.
The Pacific Agujónes have slender elongated rounded bodies with a dark blue-green upper body, silvery sides, and a white belly. They have a dark blue stripe on the middle of their flanks. They have large eyes and the inside of their mouth is green. Their jaws are prolonged with the lower beak being slightly longer than the upper beak; their beaks are relatively long (17-19% of standard length), slender, and up-curved with many long and pointed teeth. Their caudal fin is deeply forked with the lower lobe being much longer than the upper lobe. Their dorsal fin has a long base while their pectoral and pelvic fins are short.
The Pacific Agujónes are an oceanic pelagic fish found in the first 25 feet of the water column. They reach a maximum length of 1.30 meters (4 feet 3 inches). They are a very rare and poorly studied species and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.
In Mexican waters the Pacific Agujónes are found from Guerrero Negro southward along the central and southwest coasts of Baja, in the southern third of the Sea of Cortez, and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala.
The Pacific Agujón is most likely confused with the Houndfish, Tylosurus crocodilus (short beak, massive teeth, long pectoral and pelvic fins) and the Keeljaw Needlefish, Tylosurus acus melanotus (keel on tip of chin).
The Pacific Agujónes are viewed by locals as a pest with “too many bones” to be utilized for food. They are either a “catch and release” or retained for use as cut bait for bottom fishing. When hooked they like to make mad, short dashes. They are excellent bait stealers inflicting major damage to and weakening monofilament lines with their many teeth.