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Species: Hemiramphus balao, Balao, Balao Halfbeak

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

back blue
C top lobe blue
pectoral tips reach front edge nasal pit
A 11-12 (10-13)

Hemiramphus balao Lesueur, 1821

Balao, Balao Halfbeak

Elongate and slender; no teeth; lower jaw extended into a long beak; upper jaw short, triangular, scaleless; nostrils in a pit before eye; no ridge just before eye; gill rakers 35-37 (31-39), 7-10 + 22-29; dorsal and anal fins are at the rear of the body, with bases about opposite one another; dorsal rays 11-15 (usually 13-14); anal rays 10-13 (usually 11-12); pelvic fins are under the rear of the abdomen; pectoral fins high on the sides, pectoral rays 10-12 (usually 11), fins reaching beyond nasal pit when folded forward; tail fin deeply forked, lower lobe much larger; lateral line low on side of body; scales large and smooth.

Bluish on back, silvery on side of head and body, and white ventrally; fleshy tip of lower jaw red; upper tail lobe bluish violet.

Size: grows to 40 cm.

Habitat: surface inshore waters.

Depth: 0-5 m?

New York to Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 40
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 5