Atherina boyeri  Risso, 1810

Big-scale sand smelt
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Atherina boyeri   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Atherina boyeri (Big-scale sand smelt)
Atherina boyeri
Picture by Otel, V.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Atheriniformes (Silversides) > Atherinidae (Silversides) > Atherininae
Etymology: Atherina: Greek, atherina, the Greek name for the eperlane; 1770 (Ref. 45335).   More on author: Risso.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; demersal; amphidromous (Ref. 59043); depth range 1 - ? m.   Subtropical, preferred 11°C (Ref. 107945); 53°N - 20°N, 18°W - 42°E

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

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).

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 5.8, range 5 - ? cm
Max length : 20.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 30578); max. reported age: 4 years (Ref. 59043)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 7 - 10; Dorsal soft rays (total): 8-16; Anal spines: 2; Anal soft rays: 10 - 18. Eye diameter wider than snout length (Ref. 35388).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

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).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Dyer, Brian S. | Collaborators

Maugé, L.A., 1990. Atherinidae. p. 604-605. In J.C. Quero, J.C. Hureau, C. Karrer, A. Post and L. Saldanha (eds.) Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic (CLOFETA). JNICT, Lisbon; SEI, Paris; and UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 2. (Ref. 4499)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: commercial
FAO(fisheries: production; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Internet sources

Alien/Invasive Species database | BHL | Cloffa | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | DiscoverLife | DORIS | Faunafri | Fishtrace | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GOBASE | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | National databases | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | PubMed | Scirus | SeaLifeBase | Tree of Life | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoobank | Zoological Record

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5312   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00589 (0.00472 - 0.00735), b=3.07 (3.00 - 3.14), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.2   ±0.36 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.8; tm=1; tmax=4;).
Prior r = 0.76, 2 SD range = 0.33 - 1.74, log(r) = -0.27, SD log(r) = 0.42, Based on: 6 K, 2 tgen, 1 tmax, 2 Fec records
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate vulnerability (44 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   High.