10 20 40 60 cm
mittakaava > 60 cm
Gösta Sundman: Suomen Kalat (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland), Lauri Urho, Petri Savola (Uudenmaan ympäristökeskus)
- Other names: Garpike
- Family: Needlefishes – Belonidae
- Similar species: None in Finland
- Size: 50–75 cm, seldom over 80 cm or over 1 kg in weight.
- Appearance: Long, eel-like body laterally compressed. Jaws greatly elongated, lined with numerous sharp teeth. Anal and dorsal fins similar in appearance and set well back just anterior to tail. Lateral line runs close to belly. The garfish’s highly distinctive appearance means it is unlikely to be confused with any other fish species in Finnish waters. Resembles an elongated pike, although the two are not related.
- Colouring: Back bluish green, sides silvery. The bones are green.
- Reproduction: A surface-dwelling fish of the open sea, garfish move inshore into shallow water in May-June to spawn among floating vegetation. Not known to spawn in Finnish waters, the nearest known spawning sites being off the west coast of Estonia and the sea around Gotland. Juveniles measuring just over 20 cm have been taken off the Finnish coast at Hanko, while some ripe adults have been caught west of the Åland islands.
- Food: A ferocious predator, garfish hunt in the open sea seeking shoals of small fish such as Baltic herring, sprats, sandeels and even three-spined sticklebacks. Larger individuals also take free-swimming crustaceans.
- Distribution and habitat: A sea fish that moves into Finland’s waters along with surges of salt water through the Straits of Denmark into the Baltic. Migrates west and south of the British Isles in winter and returns to its spawning grounds in early summer. Garfish appear in Finnish waters in late summer, only to disappear again as autumn sets in. Fairly common off Finland’s SW coast and throughout the Gulf of Finland. Has been reported as far north as Kokkola in the Gulf of Botnia.