The Scissortail has a compressed (glossary) body with tiny scales and soft flabby musculature. It has a blunt snout and large eyes.
The first dorsal fin is short-based and rounded. The second dorsal fin and anal fin are long-based. The caudal fin is forked.
Adult Scissortail are dark brown to purplish. Juveniles are silvery with broad dark blue to black stripes in the second dorsal and anal fins.
It occurs in tropical and some temperate waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The Australian distribution of the species is uncertain. It is known to occur off New South Wales and South Australia but is thought to occur more widely including deep tropical waters.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
- McDowall, R.M. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
- Haedrich, R.L. & M.H. Horn. 1972. A Key to the Stromateoid Fishes. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Technical Report. Pp. 46.
- Last, P.R 2001. Nomeidae in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 6. Bony Fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles, sea turtles, sea snakes and marine mammals. FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-v, 3381-4218.