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Temporal range: 33.9–0 Ma
Early Oligocene to Present[1]
Sillago parvisquamis 01.JPG
Sillago parvisquamis
Scientific classification

G. Cuvier, 1817
Type species
Sillago acuta
Cuvier, 1817

Sillago is a genus of fish in the family Sillaginidae and the only non-monotypic genus in the family.[2] Distinguishing the species can be difficult, with many similar in appearance and colour, forcing the use of swim bladder morphology as a definitive feature. All species are benthic in nature and generally coastal fish, living in shallow, protected waters although there are exceptions. Minor fisheries exist around various species of Sillago, making them of minor importance in most of their range. This genus has the widest distribution of any smelt-whiting genus, spanning much of the Indo-Pacific. The genus ranges from the east coast of Africa to Japan in the east and Southern Australia in the south, with most species concentrated around South East Asia, the Indonesian Archipelago and Australia. Many species have overlapping distribution, often making positive identification hard.[3]


The genus Sillago is one of five genera in the family Sillaginidae, itself part of the Percoidea, a suborder of the Perciformes. The name was first coined by famed taxonomist Georges Cuvier as a genus for his newly described species, Sillago acuta, which was later found to be a junior synonym of S. sihama. John Richardson placed the genus, along with Sillaginodes and Sillaginopsis in a family, which he named the Sillaginidae in 1846. Many species, both valid and invalid were added to the genus and it was not until 1985 when Roland McKay of the Queensland Museum published a revision of the family Sillaginidae that the complex relationships between these names was cleared up. McKay further divided Sillago into three subgenera based primarily on the morphology of the swim bladder.[4]


There are currently 31 recognized species in this genus:

Relationship to humans[edit]

Various species of this genus represent minor local fisheries in their ranges, with many having commercial importance. Fish are taken by a variety of methods including seine, gill and cast nets as well as by line. Recreational fishing for them is common, especially in Australia where they are valued as food fish or for live bait for larger species. Estuarine aquaculture in India, Japan and Taiwan has utilized sillagos as an important species and similar trials have been conducted in Australia.[3] They can be very delicious when deep fried.


  1. ^ Sepkoski, J.J.Jr (2002): A Compendium of Fossil Marine Animal Genera. Bulletins of American Paleontology, 363: 1-560.
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2016). Species of Sillago in FishBase. June 2016 version.
  3. ^ a b McKay, R.J. (1992). FAO Species Catalogue: (Vol. 14.) Sillaginid Fishes of The World (PDF). FAO. p. 87. ISBN 92-5-103123-1.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ McKay, R.J. (1985): A revision of the fishes of the family Sillaginidae. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 22 (1): 1-73.
  5. ^ Kaga, T., Imamura, H. & Nakaya, K. (2010): A new sand whiting, Sillago (Sillago) caudicula, from Oman, the Indian Ocean (Perciformes: Sillaginidae). Ichthyological Research, 57 (4): 367-372.
  6. ^ Kaga, T. & Ho, H.-C. (2012): Redescription of Sillago (Parasillago) indica McKay, Dutt & Sujatha, 1985 (Perciformes: Sillaginidae), with a reassignment to the subgenus Sillago. Zootaxa, 3513: 61-67.
  7. ^ Xiao, J.-G., Song, N., Han, Z.-Q. & Gao, T.-X. (2016): Description and DNA Barcoding of a New Sillago species, Sillago shaoi (Perciformes: Sillaginidae), in the Taiwan Strait. Zoological Studies, 55 (47): 1-10.
  8. ^ Gao, T.-X., Ji, D.-P., Xiao, Y.-S., Xue, T.-Q., Yanagimoto, T. & Setoguma, T. (2011): Description and DNA Barcoding of a New Sillago Species, Sillago sinica (Perciformes: Sillaginidae), from Coastal Waters of China. Zoological Studies, 50 (2): 254-263.
  9. ^ Golani, D., Fricke, R. & Tikochinski, Y. (2013): Sillago suezensis, a new whiting from the northern Red Sea, and status of Sillago erythraea Cuvier (Teleostei: Sillaginidae). Journal of Natural History, 48 (7-8): 413-428.