Cape moonies are small, kite-shaped fish. Their bodies are silver, with tiny pelvic and dorsal fins and a larger tail. Their dorsal fin is often yellow-tipped.

Juvenile Cape moonies display several dark vertical stripes that fades as they mature.

These fish form shoals in shallow waters on the African East Coast, there they use their needle-like teeth to sift zooplankton from the water.

Moonies are at home in fresh water and salt water. They occur in large shoals in rivers, estuaries, harbours and in the sea from Tanzania to the Breë River (also reported from Madagascar) and are common off the South African south coast. They are active at night and feed on shrimp and small crabs.

They are sometimes called kite fish because of their shape. 


Species Facts

  • At home in fresh water and salt water
  • Feeds on shrimp and small crabs
  • Juveniles grow in the Southern Cape
  • Matures at 15cm