Atlantic Cutlass Fish

The Atlantic Cutlass Fish is an unusual eel-like fish that we only saw one time in the Dominican Republic. The boys had gone night-fishing with Dave, and this fish somehow leapt into the dinghy, Cutting Arthur’s leg in the process! Possibly it was leaping for prey fish as some bait fish had also appeared in the dinghy too. It was about 2 feet long, a smooth, shiny silver in colour with extremely sharp, knife-like teeth. It was quite difficult to identify, so this may not be the exact species.

Àtlantic Cutlass Fish are described as having ribbon-like bodies. It can be found in marine or brackish environments, from the surface to at least as deep as 600m, and can grow to over 2 metres in length. Adults feed during the day, ambushing crustaceans, fish, shrimp and squid, moving to the depths during the night. Juveniles form schools and feed during the night, moving to the depths during the day. Our specimen was likely a juvenile feeding at night, and would explain why we haven’t seen one during the day, especially given that Samana Bay is fairly shallow.  Cutlass Fish are fished commercially and used as bait for larger species.