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American Halfbeak

Hyporhamphus meeki

The American halfbeak is a long, skinny, tannish-green fish with a long lower jaw. (NOAA NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center)
The American halfbeak is a long, skinny, tannish-green fish with a long lower jaw. (NOAA NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center)

The American halfbeak is a long, skinny fish that visits the Chesapeake Bay’s shallow waters in summer and autumn.

Appearance:

The American halfbeak has a long, skinny, tannish-green body with a silvery belly. It grows up to 7 inches in length. Its lower jaw, which has a fleshy red tip, is much longer than its upper jaw.

Habitat:

Found in sandy, vegetated shallow waters. Forms schools at the water’s surface.

Range:

Visits the Bay in summer and autumn, venturing as far north as Baltimore Harbor.

Feeding:

The American halfbeak feeds on algae and small organisms.

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

Spawning occurs in the Bay during summer. Eggs attach themselves with adhesive fibers to floating blades of eelgrass.

Other Facts:

  • The American halfbeak is also known as Meeki’s halfbeak. It gets its name from its elongated lower jaw.
  • Halfbeaks are attracted to lights at night.
  • They are quick, agile swimmers that are difficult to catch with a net.

Sources and Additional Information:




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