> Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes
learn only 3 things about them ...
| They are slender and silvery, often bluish.
They feed on tiny animals in the water (not on the sea
are important prey for larger fishes and sea birds.
seen? These flashy little fishes are commonly seen on many of our Southern shores,
near living reefs. Usually in groups of small numbers, zipping about
near the water surface, especially at night. Sometimes, large schools
are seen from a boardwalk. In our mangroves, they may school
in the hundreds and sometimes seen leaping out of the water to escape
What are silversides? Silversides belong to Family Atherinidae.
According to Fishbase:
The family has 25 genera and 165 species in tropical and temperate
waters. Most are marine although there are about 50 species confined
to freshwater and some can move from the sea into freshwater.
Features: 3-10cm long. These indeed silvery fishes are
small, slender and streamlined, with large eyes and relatively large
scales. They have small mouths that are upturned toward the water
surface. They have two widely separated dorsal fins. They usually
have a distinct darker band along the middle of the body from head
to tail. Often seen in groups, sometimes in large schools. They are
also called hardyheads.
Tropical silversides (Atherinomorus duodecimalis): Those seen 3-6cm long, grows to about 10cm. Streamlined torpedo-shaped with large eyes. Colours silvery
grey, bluish to bright blue. Usually with a narrow silvery line along
the length of the side of the body.
Sometimes confused with other small silvery fishes. More on how to tell apart small silvery fishes.
Pulau Semakau, Aug 14
Tanah Merah, Dec 11
Sometimes large schools are seen.
Chek Jawa, Jan 10
The school, seen from the boardwalk.
Chek Jawa, Jan 10
|What do they eat? Many feed on
zoo plankton or other tiny creatures that live in the water column
(as opposed to on the sea bottom). Being so numerous, they are important prey for other
larger fishes, other marine life and sea birds.
prey on them.
Sisters Island, Aug 09
Carpet anemones are among their predators.
Kusu Island, Jun 12
Swimming crabs also eat them.
Kusu Island, Sep 10
Photo shared by James Koh on flickr.
|Human uses: Only a few species of this Family
are large enough to be valuable as human food. Smaller ones maybe
used as bait or pet food.
are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience
silversides on Singapore shores
|Other sightings on Singapore shores
Pulau Sekudu, Jul 20
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.
Terumbu Semakau, Jul 14
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.
Atherinidae recorded for Singapore
Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity
Atherinomorus duodecimalis (Tropical