Eastern Sea Garfish, Hyporhamphus australis (Steindachner 1866)

Other Names: Ballyhoo, Beakie, Eastern Garfish, Gardie, Pencil Gar, Sea Gar, Sea Garfish

Eastern Sea Garfish, Hyporhamphus australis, at Shelly Beach, Manly, New South Wales. Source: John Sear / iNaturalist.org. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale, greenish-blue garfish with a blue edged silver stripe along the side, three narrow brown lines along the back, and a whitish underside.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Hyporhamphus australis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Nov 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/4490

Eastern Sea Garfish, Hyporhamphus australis (Steindachner 1866)

More Info


Moreton Bay, Queensland, to Eden, New South Wales, also the Lord Howe Province and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea.
During the day, Eastern Sea Garfish may form schools over seagrass beds, while at night they usually school near the surface.


Dorsal fin 15-17 (usually 16); Anal fin 17-20 (usually 18); Pectoral fin II-13 (rarely 13); Vertebrae (37-39) + (18-20) = 56-58; Gill-rakers 9-12 + 22-28 = 31-39 (usually 34-37); Gill rakers (second arch) 4-7 + 19-27 = 23-33, usually 27-31. 
Upper jaw long, pointed, longer than wide at small sizes, shorter than upper jaw width at larger sizes. Lower jaw usually slightly longer than head length. Pelvic fins placed about midway between pectoral and caudal bases. Dorsal-fin base length greater or equal to anal-fin base length.


Omnivore - feeds mainly on seagrasses and algal filaments, also consuming crustaceans.

Species Citation

Hemiramphus australis Steindachner 1866, Sitzungsb. Akad. Wissensch. Wien. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse 53(1): 471. Type locality: Port Jackson, NSW.


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Eastern Sea Garfish, Hyporhamphus australis (Steindachner 1866)


Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

Collette, B.B. 1974. The garfishes (Hemiramphidae) of Australia and New Zealand. Records of the Australian Museum 29(2): 11-105 figs 1-23 https://doi.org/10.3853/j.0067-1975.29.1974.231

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Kailola, P.J., Williams, M.J., Stewart, P.C., Reichelt, R.E., McNee, A. & Grieve, C. 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Canberra : Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 422 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Prokop, F. 2002. Australian Fish Guide. Croydon South, Victoria : Australian Fishing Network 256 pp.

Riley, I.J., DiBattista, J.D., Stewart, J., Schilling, H.T. & Suthers, I.M. 2023. Using integrative taxonomy to differentiate cryptic halfbeak species and interpret distribution patterns, fisheries landings, and speciation. Marine and Freshwater Research 74(2): 125-133. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF22048

Steindachner, F. 1866. Zur Fischfauna von Port Jackson in Australien. Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse 53(1): 424-480 figs 1-7

Thomson, J.M. 1959. Some aspects of the ecology of Lake Macquarie, NSW, with regard to an alleged depletion of fish. IX. The fishes and their food. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 10: 365-374.

Whitley, G.P. 1931. New names for Australian fishes. The Australian Zoologist 6(4): 310-334 1 fig. pls 25-27 (as Reporhamphus australis)

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37234014

Depth:0-30 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish


Max Size:52 cm TL

Native:Endemic (AUS EEZ)

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CAAB distribution map