Family: ATHERINOPSIDAE, New World Silversides, American Silversides
AMERICAN SILVERSIDES, NEW WORLD SILVERSIDES
Typically small fishes (most < 20 cm, but can reach 1 m); elongate; mouth opens at front, top jaw extendible, usually very much so; premaxilla with rear end greatly expanded, without expanded bony process above its center; small teeth present on both jaws and sometimes on the front of the roof of the mouth; gill rakers generally large; large eyes; two well-separated dorsal fins, the first with II-IX spines, the second with I front spine; anal fin with I front spine; pectoral fin inserted high on body, above mid-level of eye; pelvic fin on belly, I, 5; tail fin forked; no lateral line; scales smooth, cycloid, sometimes with ruffled rear margins; with a silver stripe along mid-side.
This American family contains about 108 species in 13 genera; four of those genera with 22 species (3 unnamed) occur in our region, 18 as endemics.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER CHERNOFF (2002)