Hyporhamphus melanochir

Southern sea garfish
Hyporhamphus melanochir
Hyporhamphus melanochir


Temperate Australasia


A species once mistaken for the southern garfish, the eastern sea garfish Hyporhamphus australis of New South Wales, differs in the number of lateral line scales (58-60 cf. 52-57). Several other species of garfish can also be found in estuaries, particularly on warmer coasts. The southern garfish has an unusual diet as it is virtually the only species in southern Australia to consume seagrass in any quantity. During the day adults feed on seagrass; at night they consume planktonic crustaceans and stray insects landing on the water surface.


Max Size: 52 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 12.2-23.2°C

Depth: 0-2m

Habitat Generalization Index: N/A

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Not Evaluated

Occurrence: Infrequent (1.7% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Many (55 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: GJ Edgar. 2008. Australian Marine Life. New Holland, Sydney