Hemiramphus balao

Common Name

Balao Halfbeak

Year Described

Lesueur, 1821


Dorsal Fin: 11-15 (usually 13-14)
Anal Fin: 10-13 (usually 11-12)
Pectoral Fin: 10-12 (usually 11)
Pelvic Fin: 6
Gill Rakers: 31-39 (first arch)
Vertebrae: 54-56

Lower jaw elongate. Preorbital ridge absent and snout scaleless. Pectoral fin extends past nasal opening when depressed forward. Caudal fin forked with lower lobe much longer than upper lobe.


Body bright silvery with a steel gray to blue back. Tip of lower jaw red. Caudal fin bluish on the upper and lower lobe.


Maximum size to 40cm TL.


An inshore schooling species usually found right at the surface.


New York to S. Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.


Collette, B.B. 2002. Hemiramphidae (pp 1135-1144). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 2: Bony fishes part 1 (Acipenseridae-Grammatidae). FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5.

McEachran, J.D. and J.D. Fechhelm. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 1: Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin. i-viii + 1-1112.