Hyporhamphus meeki

Common Name

American Halfbeak

Year Described

Banford & Collette, 1993


Dorsal Fin: 12-17 (usually 14-15)
Anal Fin: 14-18 (usually 16)
Pectoral Fin: 10-13 (usually 11-12)
Pelvic Fin: 6
Gill Rakers: 31-40 (first arch)

Lower jaw elongate. Preorbital ridge present and snout covered in scales. Pectoral fin relatively short: does not extend past nasal opening when depressed forward*. Caudal fin moderately forked, with lower lobe enlarged. Dorsal and anal fin covered with scales.


Body silvery with a greenish back. Three thin black lines on dorsum from head to dorsal origin. Silvery lateral stripe widens distinctly under dorsal fin. Lower jaw with a red tip. Dorsal fin with a dark distal half. Caudal fin pale with a dark posterior border.


Maximum size to 22cm TL.


An inshore, continental species found in large schools near the surface. Often in low salinity waters.


Massachusetts to SE Florida on the U.S. east coast, and in the Gulf of Mexico from SW Florida to Yucatan.


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.

Contreras-Balderas, S., M.L. Lozano-Vilano, and M.E. Garcia Ramirez. 1997. Distributional and ecological notes on the halfbeaks of eastern Gulf of Mexico, with a provisional key for their identification. Gulf Research Reports. January 94: 327-331.

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.

Other Notes

Records of this species south of southern Florida refer to Hyporhampus unifasciatus. Bermuda records refer to H. collettei.