HALFBEAKS - HEMIRHAMPHIDAE
About 45 cm maximum length. Eggs are attached to algae in shallow waters; viviparity in Dermogenys, Nomorphamphus, and Hemirhamphodon.
Surface dwelling omnivores of algae, zooplankton and fishes.
The lower jaw much longer than upper jaw; premaxillae pointed anteriorly; short pectoral and pelvic fins. Vertebrae 38-75 (except 18-25 in Arrhamphus). The family is defined by one derived character, third pair of upper pharyngeal bones anklylosed into a plate. Other diagnostic characters include: pectoral fins short or moderately long; premaxillae pointed anteriorly, forming a triangular upper jaw (except in Oxyporhamphus); lower jaw elongate in juveniles of all genera, adults of most genera; parapophyses forked; swimbladder not extending into haemal canal; nostrils in a pit anterior to the eyes; no spines in fins; dorsal and anal fins posterior in position; pelvic fins in abdominal position, with 6 soft rays; lateral line running down from pectoral fin origin and then backward along ventral margin of body. Scales moderately large, cycloid, easily detached.
Greek, hemi = half + Greek, rhamphos = beak, bill