Elops affinis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Elopiformes Elopidae

Scientific Name: Elops affinis
Species Authority: Regan 1909
Common Name(s):
English Ladyfish, Pacific Ladyfish, Tenpounder, Machete
Spanish Diabla, Chiro, Chola, Lisa Macho, Macabi, Machete, Machete del Pacifico, Malacho, Malacho del Pacifico, Pex Torpedo
French Guinée-machète du Pacifique, Guinée Machète du Pacifique
Taxonomic Notes: Closely related to Elops saurus of the western Atlantic.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2011-03-29
Assessor(s): Adams, A., Guindon, K., Horodysky, A., MacDonald, T., McBride, R., Shenker, J. & Ward, R.
Reviewer(s): Raynal, M. & Harwell, H.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Harwell, H.
Although Elops affinis is widespread, little is known about the life history, ecology, population status, fisheries interactions, or potential threats to this species. It is known to be impacted by dams and reduced river flow in some areas; however,  the quantitative effects of this threat are unknown.  Therefore, this species is listed as Data Deficient.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2010 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is present in the eastern Pacific stretching from southern California to Peru, including Isla del Coco (Eschmeyer and Foung 2008, Follett 1960).
Countries occurrence:
Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Peru; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – southeast
Lower depth limit (metres): 10
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are numerous museum records for this species (more than 80 specimens) (accessed through the Fishnet2 Portal,, 2011-05-14). Landings data are unavailable.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This pelagic oceanodromous species occurs in schools in shallow inshore areas. It penetrates lagoons and estuaries (Whitehead and Rodríguez-Sánchez 1995) in waters up to 10 m depth. Spawning probably occurs in the open ocean and leptocephali larvae migrate towards coastal areas (Whitehead and Rodríguez-Sánchez 1995). Hendricks et al. (1966) reported them in polyculture involving shrimp and fish (up to 40 cm). Maximum size reported is 91 cm TL (Getabu 1987), although commonly reported to 50 cm TL (Whitehead and Rodríguez-Sánchez 1995).
Systems: Marine
Movement patterns: Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species struggles vigorously when caught on hook and line. It has low commercial value due its numerous bones (Whitehead and Rodríguez-Sánchez 1995).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species penetrates estuaries, where it is impacted by dams and reduced river flow in some areas (e.g., Colorado River) (Schooley and Marsh 2007). It has low commercial value due its numerous bones (Whitehead and Rodríguez-Sánchez 1995).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known conservation measures for this species. However, this species' distribution includes a number of Marine Protected Areas in the Tropical Eastern Pacific region.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.1. Marine Neritic - Pelagic
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.10. Marine Neritic - Estuaries
suitability: Marginal  
10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.1. Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.4. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes
suitability: Marginal  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over part of range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

♦  Food - human
 National : ✓ 

♦  Sport hunting/specimen collecting
 National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Eschmeyer, W.N. and Fong, J.D. 2008. Species by Family/subfamily in the Catalog of Fishes . Available at: (Accessed: March 29, 2011).

Fishnet2 Portal. 2011. Available at:

Follett, W.I. 1960. The fresh-water fishes-their origins and affinities. Systematic Zoology 9: 212-232.

Getabu, A. 1987. Aspects of the Lake Victoria fisheries with emphasis on Oreochromis niloticus and Alestes sadleri from the Nyanza Gulf. FAO Fish Rep 389: 416-431.

Hendricks, M.E., Salgado-Barragán, J. and Meda-Martínez, M.A. 1966. Abundance and diversity of macrofauna (fish and decapod crustaceans) in Penaeus vannamei culture ponds in western Mexico. Aquaculture 143: 61-73.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.2). Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2012).

IUCN and UNEP. 2014. The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). Cambridge, UK Available at: .

Robertson, D.R. and Allen, G.R. 2006. Shore fishes of the tropical eastern Pacific: an information system. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Panamá.

Whitehead, P.J.P. and Rodríguez-Sánchez, R. 1995. Elopidae. Malachos. In: W. Fischer, F. Krupp, W. Schneider, C. Sommer, K.E. Carpenter and V.H. Niem (eds), Guía FAO para la Identificación de Especies para los Fines de la Pesca. Pacífico Centro-Oriental, pp. 1065-1066. FAO, Rome.

Citation: Adams, A., Guindon, K., Horodysky, A., MacDonald, T., McBride, R., Shenker, J. & Ward, R. 2012. Elops affinis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T184047A1745464. . Downloaded on 30 November 2015.
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