The herring smelts or argentines are a family, Argentinidae, of marine smelts. They are similar in appearance to smelts (family Osmeridae) but have much smaller mouths.
series of a fossil species of the genus Argentina
, the Geological Museum, Copenhagen
They are found in oceans throughout the world. They are small fishes, growing up to 25 centimetres (9.8 in) long, except the greater argentine, Argentina silus, which reaches 70 centimetres (28 in).
They form large schools close to the sea floor, and feed on plankton, especially krill, amphipods, small cephalopods, chaetognaths, and ctenophores.
Several species are fished commercially and processed into fish meal.