SCIENTIFIC NAME: Menidia beryllina

CHARACTERISTICS: Although the inland silverside resembles the brook silverside, it has a stouter and more rounded body, fewer anal fin rays (16 to 18), fewer predorsal scales (14 to 16), and fewer lateral scales (36 to 44). A silver stripe extends from the pectoral fin base to the caudal fin base, where it expands to form a small silver spot. The caudal fin is edged in light yellow, while color along the back and upper sides is pale yellow to translucent green. In 1866 Cope read his paper describing Menidia beryllina to the American Philosophical Society. See Cope (1869b) for the subsequent published account.

ADULT SIZE: 2 to 3.9 in (50 to 100 mm)

DISTRIBUTION:  Menidia beryllina occurs in coastal drainages from Massachusetts south along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts to Veracruz, Mexico, and then north through the Mississippi River basin into large tributaries of southern Illinois. Our collections in Alabama are limited to tributaries of Mobile Bay and the Mobile Delta. We have one record from the lower Alabama River drainage, collected near the mouth of Little River. Increased netting and examination of smaller fishes with boat electrofishing gear will likely expand this species’ known range in the lower reaches of the Tombigbee and Alabama river drainages.  

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The habitat preferences of the inland and brook silversides are similar, including brackish and fresh waters of bayous, lagoons, and bays and quiet areas of inland rivers and streams. The inland silverside eats small crustaceans, mollusks, insects, worms, and occasionally algae (Hildebrand and Schroeder, 1928). The protracted spawning season, possibly with multiple spawnings, extends from April through August in Chesapeake Bay. Like Labidesthes sicculus, M. beryllina likely spawns in shallow areas of open water, and the adhesive, filamentous eggs attach to vegetation and other submerged objects.

ORGINAL DESCRIPTION: Cope described the inland silverside in 1866.

Menidiais a Greek term for a small, silvery fish.
Beryllina means emerald.

The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.