By Russell Miller
Depending on the species, needlefish can range in size from as small as one inch to nearly six feet in length. They travel in small schools, feeding on fish, crustaceans, and krill on the surface of the water. Swimming at extremely fast speeds (over 35 miles per hour) they often leap clear of the water to capture prey. Though caught and eaten for food, their green bones, can make them visually unappealing. Needlefish have no stomachs. Rather than using acid to digest their food, they produce an enzyme called “trypsin” which breaks down protein.
Oddly Enough – Needlefish have been responsible for at least two known human deaths. It is not unusual for them to leap clear of the water, especially at night, colliding with people on boats or docks and spearing them in a lethal manner.
Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and former reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King.