Atherinomorus stipes

Common Name

Hardhead Silverside

Year Described

Muller & Troschel [in Schomburgk], 1848


Dorsal Fin: V; I, 8-10
Anal Fin: I, 11-13
Scales: 37-42
Gill Rakers: 24+

Body elongated and tapering posteriorly. Head with terminal mouth reaching beyond anterior margin of orbit. Mouth not protractile. Coronoid process not obvious. Premaxilla thin with distal end not expanded. Post-maxillary process present. Teeth small. Eye very large (about twice snout length). There are two dorsal fins; one spiny and one with mostly soft rays. Pelvic fin origin well behind pectoral fin base. Anal fin origin in front of second dorsal origin. Pectoral fin high on mid-body. Caudal fin forked. Body scales cycloid with crenulate edges. Area between throat and pelvic fins scaled. Bases of dorsal and anal fins scaled.


Body translucent greenish with iridescent green or blue highlights on the head, gut, and back. Scale edges on back with black pigment forming cross-hatching pattern and a few lines of black speckles along lateral scale rows below lateral line. Silvery lateral stripe is relatively thick and thins slightly posteriorly. Fins colorless except for black tips on tail in large fish.


Maximum size to 100mm TL but mostly <60mm.


Shallow coastal waters in bays, sandy lagoons, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. Forms large schools.


Southern Florida to Argentina, including the Caribbean islands, the Yucatan, and northern South America. Also Bermuda.


Chernoff, B. 2002. Atherinidae (pp 1086-1089). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 2: Bony fishes part 1 (Acipenseridae-Grammatidae). FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5.