Big-scale sand smelt

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Big-scale sand smelt
Atherina boyeri, Gulf of Odessa, Black Sea.jpg
A shoal of Atherina boyeri
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Atheriniformes
Family: Atherinidae
Genus: Atherina
Species: A. boyeri
Binomial name
Atherina boyeri
A. Risso, 1810
  • Atherina anterina Nardo, 1847
  • Atherina boïeri Risso, 1810
  • Atherina bonapartei non Boulenger, 1907
  • Atherina bonapartii Boulenger, 1907
  • Atherina boyeri caspia Eichwald, 1831
  • Atherina caspia Eichwald, 1838
  • Atherina hyalosoma Cocco, 1885
  • Atherina lacustris Bonaparte, 1836
  • Atherina mochon Cuvier, 1829
  • Atherina mochon aegyptia Boulenger, 1907
  • Atherina mochon pontica Eichwald, 1831
  • Atherina mochon riqueti Roule, 1902
  • Atherina pontica Eichwald, 1831
  • Atherina presbyter caspia Eichwald, 1831
  • Atherina presbyter pontica Eichwald, 1831
  • Atherina riqueti Roule, 1902
  • Atherina risso Valenciennes, 1835
  • Atherina rissoi Günther, 1861
  • Atherina sarda Valenciennes, 1835
  • Atherina sardinella Fowler, 1903
  • Hepsetia boyeri (Risso, 1810)
  • Hepsetia mochon (Cuvier, 1829)

The big-scale sand smelt, Atherina boyeri, is a species of fish in the Atherinidae family.[1] It is a euryhaline amphidromous fish, up to 20 cm in length.


It is found in the eastern Atlantic from Portugal and Spain to Nouadhibou (Mauritania) and Madeira.[2] Also it occurs in the Mediterranean, including the inshore lagoons, such as Trasimeno in Italy, Hyères in the southern France such as Marseille and Lake Qarun in Egypt;[3] 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.[4]

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

Atherina boyeri from the brackish lagoon in Grosseto Province, Tuscany, Italy


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


  1. ^ World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1996. Atherina boyeri. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 4 August 2007.
  2. ^ Atherina boyeri at FishBase
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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).