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Diagnostic Description

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Eye diameter wider than snout length (Ref. 35388).
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Migration

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Amphidromous. Refers to fishes that regularly migrate between freshwater and the sea (in both directions), but not for the purpose of breeding, as in anadromous and catadromous species. Sub-division of diadromous. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.Characteristic elements in amphidromy are: reproduction in fresh water, passage to sea by newly hatched larvae, a period of feeding and growing at sea usually a few months long, return to fresh water of well-grown juveniles, a further period of feeding and growing in fresh water, followed by reproduction there (Ref. 82692).
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Morphology

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Dorsal spines (total): 7 - 10; Dorsal soft rays (total): 8 - 16; Analspines: 2; Analsoft rays: 10 - 18
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Trophic Strategy

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Juveniles feed mainly on zooplankton (Ref. 13398).
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Biology

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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).
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Importance

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fisheries: commercial
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Big-scale sand smelt

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The big-scale sand smelt (Atherina boyeri) is a species of fish in the family Atherinidae. It is a euryhaline amphidromous fish, up to 20 cm in length.

Description

It is a small pelagic fish species which occurs near the surface in the littoral estuarine zone: in lagoons, salt marshes (77 psu), shallow brackish areas (2 psu) and inland waters which are rather unsuitable for other fish species, due to their high ionic strength and salinity.

Body is rather long, slender, moderately flattened. Eyes are large. Head and body are scaly. Mouth is protractible, upwardly directed, with small teeth. Lower jaw has an upper expansion within mouth (high dentary bone). There are two separate dorsal fins, with all rays of first and 1-2 anterior rays of second dorsal fin being unsegmented. The anal fin is similar to the second dorsal fin, while the caudal fin is forked. The first dorsal fin has 6-10 flexible spines.[3]

It is an omnivorous species feeding on zoo-plankton and small bottom-living animals (crustacean gammarids, polychaete worms and molluscs).

Range

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Atherina boyeri from the Gulf of Odessa, Black Sea, Ukraine

It is found in the eastern Atlantic from Portugal and Spain to Nouadhibou (Mauritania) and Madeira.[4] Also it occurs in the Mediterranean, including the inshore lagoons, such as Trasimeno and Lesina[5] in Italy, Hyères in the southern France such as Marseille and Lake Qarun in Egypt;[6] an isolated population is found near the coasts of England and the Netherlands. In the Black Sea, it is widespread along all coasts, in lagoons and estuaries, in the downstreams of rivers Danube, Dniester, Southern Bug, Inhulets, and Dnieper, with a permanent population is in the Kakhovka Reservoir.[7]

The isolated population in the Caspian Sea is characterised as subspecies A. b. caspia (Eichwald, 1838).

Fishing

The major small-scale fishing gears exploiting this species are coastal beach seines, small mesh size (10 mm) gill nets and lift-nets. It is often used as bait fish on small and medium longlines, handlines, fishing using rods and reels, as trolling bait, even as bait in fish traps.

Gastronomy

This small fish is appreciated in the Spanish, French, Turkish, and Greek cuisines. The fish are lightly powdered with wheat flour before being fried in hot olive oil.

Etymology

The specific name of this species honours the Medieval poet and scientist Guillaume Boyer who was a native of Nice, the type locality for this species.[8]

References

  1. ^ Freyhof, J.; Kottelat, M. (2008). "Atherina boyeri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T2352A174776839. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T2352A174776839.en. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2019). "Atherina boyeri" in FishBase. February 2019 version.
  3. ^ Review of Croatian selected scientific literature on species mostly exploited by the national small-scale fisheries on FAOAdriaMed.org
  4. ^ Atherina boyeri at FishBase
  5. ^ Manzo, Cristina; Fabbrocini, Adele; Roselli, Leonilde; D’Adamo, Raffaele (2016). "Characterization of the fish assemblage in a Mediterranean coastal lagoon: Lesina Lagoon (central Adriatic Sea)". Regional Studies in Marine Science. 8: 192–200. doi:10.1016/j.rsma.2016.04.003.
  6. ^ Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Vol. 3., (Eds.:) Whitehead P.J.P., Bauchot M.-L., Hureau J.-C., Nielsen J., Tortonese E., Paris, UNESCO, 1986.
  7. ^ Movchan Yu.V. (1988) True loaches, catfishes, canal catfishes, freshwater eels, congers, needlefishes, cods, sticklebacks, syngnathids, mosquitofishes, zeids, barracudas, grey mullets, old world silversides, cusk eels [in:] Fauna of Ukraine, Vol. 8, No 3, Kiev: Naukova Dumka, 399 pp. (in Russian).
  8. ^ Christopher Scharpf & Kenneth J. Lazara (1 January 2019). "Order ATHERINIFORMES: Families ATHERINOPSIDAE, ATHERINIDAE and ATHERIONIDAE". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
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Big-scale sand smelt: Brief Summary

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The big-scale sand smelt (Atherina boyeri) is a species of fish in the family Atherinidae. It is a euryhaline amphidromous fish, up to 20 cm in length.

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