Sand Smelt Atherina presbyter


Sand Smelt Atherina presbyter
Sand Smelt Atherina presbyter

Class Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order Atheriniformes (Rainbowfishes & silversides)
Family Atherinidae (Silversides)
Species Atherina presbyter Cuvier, 1829

Length up to 20 cm.
Weight up to 100 g.

A slender, silvery-looking fish with a small head and large eyes. It is yellowish, transluscent green above, pale below with silver scales along its flanks which is often outlined in black. It has 2 dorsal fins sited above pelvic and anal respectively.

From June into July it spawns, with some spawning taking place in large intertidal pools, whilst most occurs in coastal lagoons. It eats zooplankton, crustaceans and fry. It can live for up to 4 years.

Seen all year round in unpolluted harbours, estuaries and saline lagoons, and inland and coastal marine waters. It can penetrate the lower reaches of rivers. It swims in shoals, often in inshore waters in summer. Local and seasonal, mainly in the south and the south-west. Native to Britain.

Torquay Harbour, Torquay, Devon. August 2015. © Peter Hillman.

Species recorded and verified via iRecord.