GarfishThe garfish (Belone belone), also known as the needlefish or spearfish, is an elongated fish with a laterally compressed body and grows to about 50 to 75 cm (20 to 30 in) long. The jaws are elongated and armed with sharp teeth. The pectoral, dorsal, and anal fins are situated well back on the body and the latter two are similar in appearance. Positioning the fins so far back gives greater flexibility to the body. The lateral line is set low on the flanks.
The color of the body is bluish-green with a silvery grey belly and the bones are green. As a perch, they have five to six dark, vertical bars on a yellowish-green background. The garfish is a hermaphroditic fish and self fertilizes before mating with other individuals. The eggs are deposited in the sea where they develop without any further parental involvement. Garfish feed mainly on small crustaceans but also eat molluscs, insects, and fish eggs.
The garfish is a fast swimmer, especially when it needs to escape from predators. It can even leap out of the water to escape capture. It is pursued by game fish including bass, cod, haddock, and salmon which find the flesh of this fish excellent to eat. This garfish can be found in most of Europe's southern waters, in the eastern Atlantic from Iceland and Norway to Senegal, including the Mediterranean Sea. Uncommon in the Baltic Sea.
These fish are found in the coastal areas of the Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, and Baltic Sea. Their range extends southwards to Mauritania. Their depth range is 0-200 m (0-660 ft). It prefers inshore waters with sandy or gravel bottoms where they can be easily spotted by their long, needle-like snout.
One of the most characteristic features is the elongated upper jaw, which protrudes far beyond the lower jaw. The jaws are almost equal in length and both feature small teeth. Unusually for fish, they lack a gas bladder, instead of possessing an oily substance that helps them to maintain neutral buoyancy. They are distinguished by their greenish coloration and the dark lateral line which is unbroken, unlike many other predatory species.
The garfish feed on small crustaceans like copepods and mysids. They are also known to eat mollusks, insects, and fish eggs. The array of prey available in their habitat means that they can be selective with their food choices, and they may even resort to cannibalism.
The garfish is a hermaphroditic fish and fertilizes itself before mating with other individuals. The eggs are deposited in the sea where they develop without any further parental involvement. Garfish feed mainly on small crustaceans but also eat mollusks, insects, and fish eggs.
The garfish is found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, in tropical to temperate waters. It inhabits shallow coastal areas where there are beds of seagrasses or seaweed. The garfish swims close to the sea bed and hides among weeds when threatened. It is an ambush predator, hiding and then darting out its long jaws to catch any prey that ventures nearby.