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silversides,common name for small shore fishes, belonging to the family Antherinidae, abundant in the warmer waters of the Atlantic and Pacific, and named for the silvery stripe on either side of the body. Silversides, known commercially as whitebait, eat insects and small crustaceans. The small (3 in./7.5 cm) tidewater silversides, Menidia menidia, is found along the Atlantic coast; the similar brook silversides is a freshwater species. Larger and better known is the California grunion (5–8 in./12.5–20 cm), which rides in on high tides to lay its eggs in the sand. Beached grunions are collected by hand in large quantities. Other Pacific silversides are the top smelts and jack smelts, important to California's fisheries. Silversides are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information. , subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Atheriniformes, family Antherinidae.
(family Atherinidae), fish from the suborder Mugiloidea. Most silversides are up to 15 cm in length, and certain species are as long as 30 cm. The eggs of many species have filiform processes by which they attach themselves to vegetation. Silversides are found in the littoral areas of seas in the tropics, the subtropics, some parts of the temperate zones, and more rarely in fresh water. In the USSR there are three species of silversides in the Black, Azov, and Caspian seas. They have also been introduced into the Aral Sea. They feed on small invertebrates and in turn serve as food for many commercial fish. Some silversides—for example, the grunion—are commercially important.