Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ricefish, halfbeaks, needlefishes

Order Beloniformes

This order contains ricefishes, halfbeaks, needlefishes, flying fishes, etc.

Halfbeaks have the upper jaw much shorted than the lower jaw. Needlefish look like halfbeak, but can be told apart by the equal-lengthed jaws and the larger size. Ricefish do not have the streamline body of the rest and are much smaller.

F: freshwater; M: marine

Ricefishes (Family Adrianichthyidae)
Javan Ricefish Oryzias javanicus - F & M

Halfbeaks (Family Hemiramphidae)
Pygmy Halfbeak Dermogenys collettei - F & M
Forest Halfbeak Hemirhamphodon pogonognathus - F
Striped-nose Halfbeak Zenarchopterus buffonis - M
Black-barred Halfbeak Hemiramphus far - M
Quoy's Halfbeak Hyporamphus quoyi - M
Congaturi Halfbeak Hyporamphus limbatus - M

Needlefishes (Family Belonidae)
Spot-tail Needlefish Strongylura strongylura - M
Banded/Slender Needlefish Strongylura leiura - M

Javan Ricefish at Coney Island ©Tan KH

There are two species of freshwater halfbeaks in Singapore. Pygmy Halfbeak is found in Western Catchment and Central Catchment, while Forest Halfbeak is found in Central Catchment1.

The Pygmy Halfbeak (Dermogenys collettei) belongs to the D. pusilla group. It lacks the drooping appendage of the Forest Halfbeak; and the dorsal fin starts after the anal fin.

Pygmy Halfbeak at Kranji Marsh ©Tan KH

The Forest Halfbeak (Hemirhamphodon pogonognathus) has a drooping appendage at the beak tip. Its dorsal fin starts before the anal fin.

Forest Halfbeak at Peirce area ©Ben Lee

The Stripe-nosed Halfbeak (Zenarchopterus buffonis) is common in rivers and has a prominent white spot on the beak tip.

Stripe-nosed Halfbeak with Kops' Glass Perchlets at Sungei Buloh (left) and Changi Coast ©Tan KH

The Spottail Needlefish (Strongylura strongylura) is identified by the black spot at the tail-base, while the Slender Needlefish (Strongylura leiura) lacks this.

Spottail Needlefish with Striped-nose Halfbeak at Sungei Buloh ©Tan KH

Spottail Needlefish feeding on a halfbeak at Chek Jawa ©Tan KH

Spottail Needlefish at Sungei Buloh ©Tan KH

Slender Needlefish at Sungei Buloh ©Tan KH


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