Silverside, Or Silver Fish, the common name of the small marine spiny-rayed fishes of the family atherinidoe, characterized by a protractile mouth, without notch in upper jaw or tubercle in lower, small crowded teeth on the pharyngeals, the first branchial arch with long pectinations, two dorsals most commonly distant, and ventrals behind pectorals; the eyes are very large. In the genus atherina (Linn.) the body is elongated, and a broad silvery band runs along each side. The dotted silverside (A. notata, Mitch.) is from 3 to 5 in. long, greenish brown with black points on the edges of the scales, and the fins translucent; the dorsals are contiguous, the second reaching as far back as the anal; it is found from New England to South Carolina. It accompanies the smelt in spring and autumn into our rivers, and is popularly called capelin. Several other species, about 4 in. long, are found in the waters of the southern states and West Indies. More than 20 other species are described by Cuvier and Valenciennes in vol. x. of the Histoire naturelle des poissons (1835), they are much valued as articles of food; they swim in shoals, and are easily taken in nets; the flesh resembles that of the smelt, whence the A. presbyter (Cuv.) is often called sand smelt; many species, salted, are sold as sardines, and some are called anchovy.
Dotted Silverside (Atherina notata).