Eastern Sea Garfish , Hyporhamphus australis Click to enlarge image
An Eastern Sea Garfish caught on hook and line (bread bait) by T. Kelly, off Blackburn Island, Lord Howe Island lagoon, New South Wales, July 2001. Image: Dale Welham
© Dale Welham

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    australis
    Genus
    Hyporhamphus
    Family
    Hemiramphidae
    Order
    Beloniformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The Eastern Sea Garfish grows to 52 cm in length.

Introduction

The Eastern Sea Garfish is found in marine waters along the eastern Australian coast from southern Queensland to eastern Victoria. It is a schooling species that grows to 52 cm in length.


Eastern Sea Garfish , Hyporhamphus australis
A school of Eastern Sea Garfish, Hyporhamphus australis, in Cabbage Tree Bay, Manly, Sydney, New South Wales, 5 May 2014. Image: Nick Dawkins
© Nick Dawkins

Identification

At least 18 species of garfishes are known from Australian waters. They can be difficult to accurately identify. Most have very elongate silvery bodies with a long lower jaw and short triangular upper jaw.

The Eastern Sea Garfish looks very similar to the Southern Garfish, Hyporhamphus melanochir. In the key in his 1974 paper, Collette states that the two species can be separated by gill raker counts, H. australis has 34 or more on the first gill arch and 27 or more on the second gill arch. H. melanochir has 33 or less on the first gill arch and 26 or less on the second gill arch.

Distribution

The Eastern Sea Garfish is found in marine waters along the eastern Australian coast from southern Queensland to eastern Victoria.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



Other behaviours and adaptations

It is a schooling species.

References

  1. Allen, G.R., D.F. Hoese, J.R. Paxton, J.E. Randall, B.C. Russell, W.A. Starck, F.H. Talbot & GP Whitley. l976. An annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum, 30 (15):365-454.
  2. Collette, B.B. 1974. The garfishes (Hemiramphidae) of Australia and New Zealand. Records of the Australian Museum. 29(2): 11-105.
  3. Francis, M.P. 1993. Checklist of the Coastal Fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, south-west Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science. 47 (2):136-170.
  4. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  6. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.