Temporal range: Eocene - Holocene
Atherina hepsetus Stefano Guerrieri.jpg
Atherina hepsetus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Atheriniformes
Family: Atherinidae
Subfamily: Atherininae
Genus: Atherina
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Atherina hepsetus
Linnaeus, 1758[1]

Atherina is a genus of fish of silverside family Atherinidae, found in the temperate and tropic zones. Up to 15 cm long, they are widespread in the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Sea of Azov in lagoons and estuaries. It comes to the low stream of the Dnieper, Southern Bug, Dniester and Danube Rivers.

Fossil of Atherina cavalloi
Fossil of Atherina cavalloi


There are currently five recognized species in this genus:[2]

Commercial importance

Species of Atherina are objects in the traditional Italian, Catalan, Occitan, south-Ukrainian, Turkish, and Greek cuisine in fried form. The fish are lightly powdered with wheat flour before being dropped in hot olive oil. In Ukraine and Greece, it is commercially important species.[3]

Fossil record

These fishes lived from the Eocene age to Miocene (from 55.8 to 11.608 million years ago).[clarification needed] Fossils have been found in Kazakhstan and in Italy.[4]


  1. ^ Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ron & van der Laan, Richard (eds.). "Atherina". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2019). Species of Atherina in FishBase. April 2019 version.>
  3. ^ Kottelat, M. & Freyhof, J. (2007): Handbook of European freshwater fishes. Publications Kottelat, Cornol, Switzerland. 646 p.
  4. ^ Paleobiology Database