Spotted hardyhead Allanetta mugiloides, copyright Australian National Fish Collection.

Belongs within: Atherinoidei.

The Atherinidae, silversides, are a group of small, elongate fishes found in both freshwater and marine habitats, often in large schools. The Indo-West Pacific genus Atherion differs from other members of the family in the presence of distinct rows and clusters of spinelets on the head, together with the absence of teeth on most of the palate. In the genera Hepsetia and Atherina, the abdominal cavity tapers to a median point that penetrates the anterior part of the tail, extending past the anal origin (Smith 1965).

Characters (from Smith 1965): Body elongate, sub-cylindrical to highly compressed, completely or partially covered usually with cycloid scales. No distinct lateral line. Usually with a brilliant silvery lateral stripe along the middle of the body to the caudal base. Head short, often wide, usually flattened above, sometimes rough with fine denticles. Eyes relatively large, lateral, nostrils close before eye. Hind preopercle margin may be gently irregular, or with a marked concavity just above angle, or with angle produced as triangular lobe. Mouth moderate to small, maxilla reaching to or not far beyond level of front of eye. Jaws subequal or lower projecting slightly. Dentition feeble, variable, fine sharp teeth, curved, sometimes strongly, in one or more series in both jaws, often some external when mouth is closed. Small, slender, sharp teeth may be present on vomer, palatines, pterygoid and tongue. Fold of skin around angle of jaw may restrict opening of mouth. Gill openings unrestricted, gillrakers well developed, slit usually present behind last gill, rarely absent. Anus from close before to well in advance of anal origin, often at or near tips of pelvic. Two dorsal fins, the first at about mid length, with 4–11 (usually 4–7) weak spines. Second dorsal of a feeble spine, a simple ray and nine to more than twenty branched rays. Pectoral shorter than head, inserted high up, covering front of silver stripe. Pelvics inserted well behind pectorals, shorter than pectorals. Caudal usually forked in marine species, may be truncate or rounded in freshwater forms.

|--Atherion Jordan & Starks 1901 [Atherioninae]S65
| |--*A. elymus Jordan & Starks 1901S65
| |--A. africanus Smith 1965S65
| |--A. maccullochiS65
| `--A. villosa (Duncker & Mohr 1926) [=Atherina villosa]M58
|--Teramulus Smith 1965S65
| |--*T. kieneri Smith 1965 [=Pranesus kieneri]S65
| `--T. waterloti (Pellegrin 1932) [=Atherina (Hepsetia) duodecimalis var. waterloti]S65
|--Atherina Linnaeus 1758L58
| |--*A. hepsetus Linnaeus 1758L58
| |--A. lineata Günther 1872JR10
| |--A. mochonCS77
| `--A. panatela Jordan & Richardson 1908JR10
|--Hepsetia Bonaparte 1836S65
| |--*H. boyeri (Risso 1810) [=Atherina boyeri]S65
| `--H. breviceps (Cuvier & Valenciennes 1835) [=Atherina breviceps]S65
| |--H. b. brevicepsS65
| `--H. b. parvipinnis (Cuvier & Valenciennes 1835) [=Atherina parvipinnis]S65
|--Pranesus Whitley 1930 [incl. Thoracoatherina Fowler 1941]S65
| |--P. pinguis (Lacepede 1803) [=Atherina pinguis, Hepsetia pinguis; incl. P. capricornensis Woodland 1961]S65
| | |--P. p. pinguisS65 (see below for synonymy)
| | |--P. p. forskalii (Ruppell 1838) [=Atherina forskalii, Allanetta forskali]S65
| | `--P. p. ruppelli Smith 1965S65
| `--P. endrachtensis (Quoy & Gaimard 1824) [=Atherina endrachtensis]M58
`--Allanetta Whitley 1943 [incl. Hypoatherina Schultz 1948]S65
|--*A. mugiloides (McCulloch 1912) [=Atherina mugiloides]S65
|--A. afra (Peters 1855) (see below for synonymy)S65
|--‘Hypoatherina’ barnesi Schultz 1953M58
|--A. duodecimalis (C & V 1837)S65 [=Atherina duodecimalisS65, Pranesus duodecimalisM58]
|--A. klunzingeri Smith 196S65
|--‘Atherina’ lacunosa (Schneider 1801) (see below for synonymy)M58
`--A. valenciennesi (Bleeker 1853) [=Atherina valenciennesi]M58

Atherinidae incertae sedis:
|--C. estorB00
|--C. lucius Boulenger 1900B00
`--C. sphyraena Boulenger 1900B00
Leuresthes tenuisB96
Stenatherina temmincki (Bleeker 1853) [=Atherina temmincki]M58
|--C. annator Whitley 1938M58
|--C. fluviatilisG75
|--C. helenae Ivantsoff, Crowley & Allen 1987AL90
|--C. kailolaeCIA91
|--C. lacustris Trewavas 1940M58
|--C. lentiginosus Ivantsoff, Crowley & Allen 1987M10
|--C. marjoriaeG75
|--C. nouhuysi (Weber 1910) [=Atherinichthys nouhuysi]M58
|--C. pauciradiatus (Günther 1861)H90
|--C. pimatuae Crowley, Ivantsoof & Allen 1991CIA91
|--C. randi Nichols & Raven 1934M58 [=C. tanii (l. c.)CIA91]
`--C. stercusmuscarum (Günther 1867) (see below for synonymy)CIA91
|--C. s. stercusmuscarumCIA91
`--C. s. fulvusCIA91
|--B. microlepidotusB78
`--B. semotilus [=Protistius semotilus]C07
Quirichthys stramineus (Whitley 1950) [=Quiris stramineus]AL90
Atherinosoma Castelnau 1872A80, O96
`--A. presbyteroidesA80
|--P. formosa Gaudant 1984P93
|--P. rhodanica Gaudant 1976P93
`--P. vardinis (Sauvage 1883)P93
|--P. cyaneaB50
|--P. labiosaB50
|--P. striataB50
`--P. woltereckiB50

Allanetta afra (Peters 1855) [=Atherina afra; incl. At. cylindrica Klunzinger 1870 (preoc.), At. gobio Klunzinger 1884, Allanetta gobio, Hypoatherina gobio, Atherina uisila Jordan & Seale 1906, *H. uisila]S65

‘Atherina’ lacunosa (Schneider 1801) [=Hepsetia lacunosa, Hypoatherina lacunosa; incl. Atherina togar Thollière 1857]M58

Craterocephalus stercusmuscarum (Günther 1867) [=Atherina stercusmuscarum, C. stercusmuscorum; incl. Atherinichthys maculatus Macleay 1883, C. maculatus, C. worrelii Whitley 1948]CIA91

Pranesus pinguis pinguis (Lacepede 1803)S65 [incl. Atherina affinis Bennett 1831S65, A. insularum Jordan & Evermann 1902S65, Pranesus insularumS65, *Thoracoatherina insularumS65, A. lacunosa Forster in C & V 1835 non Schneider 1801S65, Hepsetia pinguis mineri Nichols & Roemhild 1951S65, A. morrisi Jordan & Starks 1906S65, *Pranesus ogilbyi Whitley 1930S65, A. pectoralis Cuvier & Valenciennes 1835S65, A. vaigiensis Quoy & Gaimard 1824S65, Pranesus pinguis vaigiensisM58]

*Type species of generic name indicated


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[AL90] Allen, G. R., & R. Leggett. 1990. A collection of freshwater fishes from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 14 (4): 527–545.

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[JR10] Jordan, D. S., & R. E. Richardson. 1910. Check-list of the species of fishes known from the Philippine archipelago. Bureau of Printing: Manila.

[L58] Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii: Holmiae.

[M10] Morgan, D. L. 2010. Fishes of the King Edward River in the Kimberley region, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 25 (4): 351–368.

[M58] Munro, I. S. R. 1958. The fishes of the New Guinea region: a check-list of the fishes of New Guinea incorporating records of species collected by the Fisheries Survey Vessel “Fairwind” during the years 1948 to 1950. Papua and New Guinea Agricultural Journal 10 (4): 97–369 (reprinted: 1958. Territory of Papua and New Guinea Fisheries Bulletin no. 1).

[O96] Ogilby, J. D. 1896. A new family of Australian fishes. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 21 (2): 118–135.

[P93] Patterson, C. 1993. Osteichthyes: Teleostei. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 621–656. Chapman & Hall: London.

[S65] Smith, J. L. B. 1965. Fishes of the family Atherinidae of the Red Sea and the western Indian Ocean with a new freshwater genus and species from Madagascar. Ichthyological Bulletin 31: 601–632.

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