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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Superclassis/Classis: Actinopterygii
Classis/Subclassis: Actinopteri
Subclassis/Infraclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Megacohors: Osteoglossocephalai
Supercohors: Clupeocephala
Cohors: Euteleosteomorpha
Subcohors: Neoteleostei
Infracohors: Eurypterygia
Sectio: Ctenosquamata
Subsectio: Acanthomorphata
Divisio/Superordo: Acanthopterygii
Subdivisio: Percomorphaceae
Series: Ovalentaria
Superordo: Atherinomorphae
Ordo: Atheriniformes
Subordines: Atherinopsoidei - Atherinoidei - Melanotaenioidei


Atheriniformes D. E. Rosen, 1966

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World, fourth edition. John Wiley, Hoboken, 624 pp. ISBN 0-471-25031-7. ISBN 978-0-471-25031-9. Reference page.
Wainwright, P.C., Smith, W.L., Price, S.A., Tang, K.L., Ferry, L.A., Sparks, J.S. & Near, T.J. 2012. The evolution of pharyngognathy: a phylogenetic and functional appraisal of the pharyngeal jaw key innovation in labroid fishes and beyond. Systematic biology 61(6): 1001–1027. (PDF) DOI: 10.1093/sysbio/sys060 Reference page.


Atheriniformes in FishBase,
Froese, R. & Pauly, D. (eds.) 2023. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication,, version 02/2023.
Atheriniformes – Taxon details on Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

Vernacular names
čeština: Gavúni
magyar: Kalászhalalakúak
日本語: トウゴロウイワシ目
македонски: Гавуновидни
polski: aterynokształtne

The Atheriniformes, also known as the silversides, are an order of ray-finned fishes that includes the Old World silversides and several less-familiar families, including the unusual Phallostethidae. The order includes at least 354 species. They are found worldwide in tropical and temperate marine and freshwater environments.[3]

Atheriniformes are generally elongated and silvery in colour, although exceptions do exist. They are typically small fish, with the largest being the Argentinian silverside, with a head-body length of 50 cm (20 in),[4] and the smallest species, such as the Bangkok minnow, being only 2 cm (0.79 in) in adult length.[3]

Members of the order usually have two dorsal fins, the first with flexible spines, and an anal fin with one spine at the front. The lateral line is typically weak or absent.[5] Atheriniform larvae share several characteristics; the gut is unusually short, a single row of melanophores occurs along the back, and the fin rays do not become evident until some time after hatching.[5] They scatter their eggs widely, with most species attaching them to aquatic plants.[3]

Classification of the Atheriniformes is uncertain, with the best evidence for monophyly in the larval characteristics mentioned below.[5] Their closest relatives are thought to be the Cyprinodontiformes.[3]

Nelson 2016 recognizes the infraseries Atherinomorpha, part of the sub series Ovalentaria which includes the orders Atheriniformes, Beloniformes, and Cyprinodontiformes, citing the larval characteristics and supporting molecular studies of these taxa as support for monophyly of this grouping. The sister taxon to the Atherinomorpha appears to be the Mugiliformes.[1]

Following Nelson (2006), the family Melanotaeniidae includes the subfamilies Bedotiinae, Melanotaeniinae, Pseudomugilinae, and Telmatherininae, to demonstrate their monophyly.[5] However, in a 2004 study, a different classification scheme classifies the families Bedotiidae, Melanotaeniidae, and Pseudomugilidae (also include Telmatherinine genera) in a suborder Melanotaenioidei.[6] Thus, the number of families in Atheriniformes varies from author to author.

Nelson 2016 classifies the families as follows:[1]

Order Atheriniformes
Suborder Atherinopsoidei
Family Atherinopsidae (New World silversides)
Family Notocheiridae (Surf silversides)
Suborder Atherinoidei
Family Isonidae (Surf sardines)
Family Melanotaeniidae (Rainbowfishes and blue eyes)
Family Atherionidae (Pricklenose silversides)
Family Dentatherinidae (Mercer's tusked silverside)
Family Phallostethidae (Priapiumfishes)
Family Atherinidae (Old World silversides)


J. S. Nelson; T. C. Grande; M. V. H. Wilson (2016). Fishes of the World (5th ed.). Wiley. p. 354. ISBN 978-1-118-34233-6.
Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ron & van der Laan, Richard (eds.). "Atherina". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
Allen, Gerald R. (1998). Paxton, J.R.; Eschmeyer, W.N. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 153–156. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.
"Odontesthes bonariensis, Argentinian silverside : fisheries, aquaculture, gamefish". Retrieved 2022-08-21.
Nelson, Joseph S. (2006). Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-25031-7.

Sparks, John S.; Smith, W. Leo (2004). "Phylogeny and biogeography of the Malagasy and Australasian rainbowfishes (Teleostei: Melanotaenioidei): Gondwanan vicariance and evolution in freshwater" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 33 (3): 719–734. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2004.07.002. PMID 15522799. Retrieved 2009-06-22.

Sepkoski, Jack (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology. 363: 1–560. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2011-05-17.

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