About Pilotfish

The pilotfish (Naucrates ductor) is a fish of the Carangidae family that inhabits epipelagic waters of tropical and subtropical areas. It can migrate over long distances. In summer it is sometimes found in central latitudes.
The fish has wide vertical dark stripes on a silver body with greenish or blueish shades that looks like zebra's coloration. The stripes may disappear when the fish is excited or scared, and the color turns white with threes spots on the back. The front part of the dorsal fin has 4-5 separated spines. There are specific leather keels on the sides of the tail. There are well-defined white spots at the ends of the striped tail fin. The light tips of anal and dorsal fins are less distinctive.
Pilotfish coexist with large fish, rays, sea turtles, and generally with sharks. Small groups of pilotfish follow predators closely and eat the remnants of their food, waste and parasites. Their diet also includes small fish, pelagic Crustaceans, and mollluscs.
Spawning occurs in open water. Fry drift with seaweed or jellyfish all over the ocean.

Additional info

Salinity Marine
Depth Up to 300 meters
Length 70 cm
Red List Least concern
Threat to Human Harmless

Known names


Gasterosteus ductor, Seriola succinta

Local names
Albania Peshk pilot, Peshku pilot
Red List Status

Naucrates ductor is widely distributed and generally common in oceanic waters in most of its range. It has a semi-obligate commensalism with other large organisms as well as ships, fish aggregating devices (FADs), and driftwood. It is taken as bycatch in some parts of its range and is of minor commercial value, however, this is not considered a major threat to its global population. It is therefore assessed as Least Concern.