Glassy Bombay Duck

Harpadon Translucens
Glassy Bombay Duck - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Harpadon Translucens
Other names Bombay Duck, Ghost Grinner
Size Up to 70 cm (27.5 in)
Weight Up to 1 kg (2.2 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, estuaries, mangroves, bays & harbours
Depth Range 1 - 75 m (246 ft)
Glassy Bombay Duck Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Glassy Bombay Duck is found in the northern waters of Australia, along the coasts of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, and northern New South Wales.
  • It features a translucent body with a slender, ribbon-like shape. It has a pointed snout and is known for its unique transparency, which allows it to blend in with its surroundings. Their colouration may exhibit subtle hues of blue, silver, or green, depending on environmental factors and light refraction.
  • They are carnivores that feed on small crustaceans like prawns, zooplankton and smaller fish.
  • The glassy Bombay duck fish obtained its name from a mail train, Bombay Daak (Daak meaning mail), during the British Raj in India. The fish became associated with the train due to the strong smell of dried fish being transported, eventually leading to its popular moniker, “Bombay duck.”
  • They are known to be more active during the night time, where they emerge from their hiding places to forage for food under the cover of darkness.
  • They are solitary creatures and are often encountered alone rather than in schools or groups.
  • Glassy Bombay Duck are primarily ambush predators. They lie in wait, partially buried in the sand or mud, and use their cryptic appearance to surprise unsuspecting prey that ventures too close.
  • Breeding generally takes place during the warmer months, typically from November to February.
  • Their lifespan is though to be between 5 – 9 years like many lizardfish.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Snorkeling & Diving

Glassy Bombay Ducks are not typically targeted for recreational fishing, but they may occasionally be caught incidentally by anglers targeting other species. They are more popular in other parts of the world like India. They can be a interesting fish to see buried in the sand hiding for snorkelers and divers, however their nocturnal nature can make them difficult to find.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Beloniformes

Family: Belonidae

Genus: Harpadon

Species: Harpadon Translucens

Conservation Status

In Australia, the Glassy Bombay Duck is not classified as a threatened species and is considered to have a stable population.

Fish Taste Quality

Glassy Bombay Duck are delicacy in some parts of the world like India. They are often described as having a mild and delicate flavour with a slightly sweet undertone.

Taste Rating: 3/5

How to catch
Glassy Bombay Duck

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Patternoster Rig, Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Fresh cut flesh baits, Lures, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms, Yabbies

Technique: Keep bait on the bottom, Keep bait close to structure

Popularity: Targeted

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Difficult

Temperament: Semi-Aggressive

Location: Inner Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None