PORT PHILLIP BAY


Southern Garfish 

Hyporhamphus melanochir

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: 15-18
Anal fin spines/rays: 17-20
Caudal fin rays: 15
Pectoral fin rays: 11-13
Ventral fin spines/rays: 6
Lateral line: 52-57
Gill rakers: (1st arch) 27-35 (2nd arch) 22-29

Interpreting fin count meristics.
Spines are in Roman numerals and soft rays are in Arabic numerals. Spines and rays that are continuous in one fin are separated by a comma. Fin sections are separated by semicolons.

Detailed descriptions of fin count and other mersitics are in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
Long, silvery, streamlined surface-dwelling fishes. Species within the group have a variety of jaw lengths and shapes, and during development, many species go through a half-beak stage where the lower jaw is elongated. The single dorsal fin and the anal fin are usually far back on the body and the pelvic fins are abdominal. All lack fin spines and the lateral line runs along the lower surface of the body.
Most species are counter-shaded to avoid being seen by predators and prey. They are usually dark greenish to bluish above and silvery white on the sides and belly, sometimes with a dusky or darker stripe along their sides.

Family level detail.
A group of slender elongate surface-dwelling fishes with a short, triangular upper jaw and long lower jaw with a fleshy tip, short-based dorsal and anal fins set far back on the body and pectoral fins set high on the body.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Beloniformes
Family:
Hemiramphidae
Genus:
Hyporhamphus
Species:
melanochir

General Description

Body very long and slender; lower jaw long slender, bill-like, upper jaw short; dorsal and anal fins short-based near the tail; lower lobe of tail fin longer than the upper. Pale greenish above, silvery-white below with a broad silvery stripe along the side, a reddish tip to the beak and a broad dusky margin to the caudal fin. To 51 cm.

Biology

Garfishes feed on invertebrates and plant matter in surface waters close to the shore. They are a popular food fish in southern Australia.

Habitat

Inshore surface waters in bays and estuaries, and along the coast, usually around the seagrass Zostera.

Open water

Seagrass meadows

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Garfishes, halfbeaks and longtoms

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

Surface Midwater

Max Size

51 cm

Commercial Species

Yes

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Southern Garfish, Hyporhamphus melanochir, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 19 Aug 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6287

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