Ribbon Halfbeak

Ribbon Halfbeak, Euleptorhamphus viridis

The Ribon Halfbeak, Euleptorhamphus viridis, whose Spanish common name is agujeta alargada is a species in the Halfbeak or Hamiramphidae Family, known collectively as pajaritos in Mexico. Globally, there are only two species in the genus Euleptorhamphus, one of which is found in Mexican waters, the species described herein, found in the Pacific.

The Ribbon Halfbeaks have extremely elongated compressed ribbon-like bodies. They have a silvery appearance with a greenish-blue back and transparent fins. Their lower jaw extends into an elongated beak and their upper jaw is short and triangular. They have small teeth set in bands. Their anal fin does not have spines and has 20 to 25 rays and originates behind the dorsal fin; their caudal fin is deeply forked with the lower lobe being larger than the upper lobe; their dorsal fin does not have spines and has 20 to 25 rays; their pectoral fins are exceedingly long; and their pelvic fins are on the abdomen well back on the body. They have 25 to 32 gill rakers. Their anal and dorsal fins have slightly raised front lobes and are well back on the body with bases opposite each other. Their lateral line is low on the body and they are covered with large smooth scales.

The Ribbon Halfbeaks are a pelagic species normally found in coastal waters on the surface to depths of 20 feet. They are one of the largest Halfbeaks in the Tropical Eastern Pacific reaching a maximum length of 53 cm (21 inches). They feed on planktonic organisms and small fish. In turn they are preyed upon by birds, dolphins, dorado, marlins, porpoises, squids, and tuna. Reproduction is oviparous with females releasing large eggs containing a sticky substance that allows the eggs to attach to floating debris.

In Mexican waters the Ribbon Halfbeaks are found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from of the northern 40% of the Sea of Cortez and from along the extreme northwest coast of Baja.

The Ribbon Halfbeak cannot be confused with any other species due to the body depth.

The Ribbon Halfbeaks are fairly rare and unable to survive a panga bait tank making them poor live bait and therefore of limited value to most.

Ribbon Halfbeak (1)

Ribbon Halfbeak, Euleptorhamphus viridis. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, August 2011. Length: 43 cm (17 inches).