Snubnose Garfish, Arrhamphus sclerolepis Günther 1866

Other Names: Jumping Halfbeak, No Bill Garfish, No-bill Garfish, Northern Snub-nosed Garfish, Short Bill Garfish, Short-beaked Garfish, Short-bill, Snubbie, Snub-nosed Garfish, South-east Snub-nosed Garfish

A Snubnose Garfish, Arrhamphus sclerolepis, caught at Machans Beach, Queensland. Source: Lek / Bowerbird, License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A dull olive-green garfish with a short lower jaw, a whitish to silvery belly, a silvery mid-lateral stripe and sometimes several broken stripes along the sides. The lower jaw is relatively longer in juveniles than adults.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Arrhamphus sclerolepis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Jun 2024,

Snubnose Garfish, Arrhamphus sclerolepis Günther 1866

More Info


Carnarvon, Western Australia, to about Lindeman Island and Bowen, Queensland, with (Arrhamphus sclerolepis sclerolepis), with (A. sclerolepis krefftii) from about Rockhampton, Queensland to Laurieton, New South Wales, and possibly as far south as Port Jackson, New South Wales. The species also occurs in southern Papua New Guinea.
Inhabits shallow coastal waters, brackish estuaries and the lower reaches of freshwater rivers, streams and some lakes. Large schools often forage around aquatic vegetation.


Dorsal fin 13-16; Anal fin 14-17; Gill rakers (first arch) 21-25; Vertebrae 45-48. 
Lower jaw proportionately much shorter at larger sizes. Anal rays usually 15; vertebrae 45-48, usually 46 or 47.
The subspecies A. sclerolepis kreffti has 13-16 dorsal-fin rays, 15-17 anal-fin rays, 48-50 vertebrae and 19-21 gill rakers.


Taken by commercial and recreational fishers, and considered to be an excellent food fish.

Similar Species

The Snubnose Garfish can be recognised by its very short lower jaw, which is much shorter than the lower jaw of other garfish species.


Arrhamphus is from the Greek a meaning 'without' and rhamphos meaning 'bill, beak'.
The common name, Snubnose Garfish, refers to the short lower jaw. 

Species Citation

Arrhamphus sclerolepis Günther, 1866, Cat. Fishes Brit. Mus. 6: 276. Type locality: Australia (as 'New Zealand'). 


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Snubnose Garfish, Arrhamphus sclerolepis Günther 1866


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37234006

Depth:0-20 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish

Habitat:Freshwater to coastal marine

Max weight:40 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map