Atherina boyeri Risso, 1810
Big-scale sand smelt
photo by Otel, V.

Family:  Atherinidae (Silversides), subfamily: Atherininae
Max. size:  20 cm TL (male/unsexed); max. reported age: 4 years
Environment:  demersal; depth range - 1 m, amphidromous
Distribution:  Eastern Atlantic: Portugal and Spain to Nouadhibou in Mauritania and Madeira, and throughout the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Isolated populations on coasts of England and the Netherlands (Ref. 5980). Previously, two subspecies were recognized in Russian waters: Atherina boyeri pontica (Eichwald, 1838) from the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and Atherina boyeri caspia (Eichwald, 1838) from the Caspian Sea (Ref. 26334).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 7-10; Dorsal soft rays (total): 8-16; Anal spines: 2-2; Anal soft rays: 10-18. Eye diameter wider than snout length (Ref. 35388).
Biology:  A very euryhaline species, where adults are frequently found in brackish waters and more sporadically in freshwater (Ref. 3788), preferring still or slow flowing waters in freshwater (Ref. 59043). They are found in lower parts of rivers, estuaries, coastal lakes and sea; pelagic in lakes (Ref. 59043). Adults occur in great schools. They are carnivorous, feeding on small crustaceans, worms, mollusks (Ref. 5980) and fish larvae (Ref. 35388) in lakes and estuaries, and on benthos in rivers (Ref. 59043). Can usually live 1 to 2 years, rarely up to 4 years. Some populations undergo spawning migrations into estuaries. Mature individuals are fractional spawners, larger individuals spawn for a longer period. Eggs are demersal, with long hairy appendages attaching them to the substrate consisting of filamentous algae, often at depths of 2 to 6 m. Larvae are pelagic often forming schools close to the shores (Ref. 59043).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 01 January 2008 Ref. (120744)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   
 

Entered by: Papasissi, Christine - 22.10.90
Modified by: Luna, Susan M. - 02.05.14
Checked by: Agustin, Liza Q. - 30.08.94

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