American Halfbeak

Hyporhamphus meeki

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • 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.

  • Diet

    Feeds on algae and small organisms

  • Status

    Stable

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.

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.

Did You Know?

  • 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

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • 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.

  • Diet

    Feeds on algae and small organisms

  • Status

    Stable