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Sand smelt
Atherina hepsetus Stefano Guerrieri 1.jpg
Mediterranean sand smelt Atherina hepsetus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Atheriniformes
Family: Atherinidae
Genus: Atherina
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Atherina hepsetus
Linnaeus, 1758

Atherina, is a genus of fish of silverside family (Atherinidae), found in the temperate and tropic zones. Up to 15 cm long, they are widespread in the Mediterranean, Black Sea, and Sea of Azov, in lagoons and estuaries. It comes to the low stream of the Dnieper, Southern Bug, Dniester, and Danube Rivers.


The currently recognized species in this genus are: [1]

Atherina is sold in a market in southern Ukraine.

Commercial importance[edit]

Species of Atherina are objects in the traditional Catalan, Occitan, south-Ukrainian, Turkish, and Greek cuisine in fried form. The fish are lightly powdered with wheat flour before being dropped in hot olive oil. In Ukraine and Greece, it is commercally important species.[2][3]


  1. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). Species of Atherina in FishBase. June 2012 version.
  2. ^ 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).
  3. ^ Kottelat, M. and J. Freyhof 2007 Handbook of European freshwater fishes. Publications Kottelat, Cornol, Switzerland. 646 p.