Silversides (Atherinopsidae)

Silverside silhouette.

Silversides are small, slender fishes that are widely distributed throughout the world. Connecticut silversides have a translucent body with a very silvery lateral stripe, abdominal region and head. The mouth is upturned, and there are two well-separated dorsal fins (one spiny, one soft). The front of the soft dorsal fin is behind the front of the anal fin, and pelvic fins are abdominal. The anal fin is longer than the bases of both dorsal fins, and there is a single weak anal spine. The lateral line is reduced or absent.

Two estuarine/marine species of silversides exist in Connecticut. Both are schooling fish that occasionally enter freshwater areas of coastal rivers and streams. 

Click on the species' names below to learn more.

Atlantic Silverside (Menidia menidia) - Native

12 cm Atlantic silverside.


Inland Silverside (Menidia beryllina) - Native

7 cm inland silverside.


Silversides are difficult to keep in home aquariums. They are highly active, constantly swimming near the top of the tank. They require larger tanks, live food such as amphipods or brine shrimp, and salinities of 10 to 30 parts per thousand.


Text and images adapted from Jacobs, R. P., O'Donnell, E. B., and Connecticut DEEP. (2009). A Pictorial Guide to Freshwater Fishes of Connecticut. Hartford, CT. Available for purchase at the DEEP Store.