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Author: (Forsskål, 1775)

Hemiramphus far (Forsskål, 1775)

Diagnosis: body laterally compressed, elongate oval in cross-section. Lower lobe of caudal fin much longer than upper. Triangular portion of upper jaw naked. Pectoral branch of lateral line double; anterior part shorter and proceeding ventrally along anterior margin of cleithrum, posterior part extending ventrally from posterior edge of pectoral fin. Preorbital ridge absent. Inner pelvic finray longer than the other rays. Dorsal finrays 11-14; anal finrays 9-12; pectoral finrays 11-13. Gillrakers 25-36 (usually 29-33) on first arch and 21-27 on second arch. Pectoral fin short, its length less than distance from origin of pectoral fin to anterior margin of nasal fossa. Vertebrae 50-55. Colour: juveniles and adults with 3-9, usually 4-6, prominent vertical bars on sides of body; black pigmented areas in dorsal, caudal and ventral fins. Size: to 33 cm.

Habitat: epipelagic, usually in coastal waters. Behaviour: schooling species. Food: primarily floating sea grasses, but also green algae and sometimes diatoms. Reproduction: probably spawns in shallow waters in spring and summer; eggs attach to vegetation by sticky threads; larvae planktonic.

Distribution: apparently invaded the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal; common off Israel and Lebanon; one record from Albania. Elsewhere, in the tropical western Indo-Pacific.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Vijayaraghavan, 1957: 40-48, fig. 44-50.
Otoliths (sagitta). Frost, 1926: 172, pl. 21 (fig. 1).

Halfbeak (Hemiramphus far)