Brook Silverside
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Top view adult.
  • Bottom view adult.
  • Head-on view adult.
  • Close-up flank.
  • Close-up head.
  • Close-up mouth and snout.
  • Close-up tail.
  • Close-up dorsal fin.
  • Close-up anal fin.
  • Close-up pectoral fin.
  • Close-up pelvic fin.
  • Close-up of head: Notice the beak-like snout and the terminal mouth that curves downward posteriorly; the back shows tiny dark spots.
  • Anterior top view: Notice the beak-like snout; the back shows tiny dark spots.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: Notice that two dorsal fins, 1st fin is small with 4 spines, the second fin is large with 1 spine and 9-11 rays.
  • Close-up anal fin: Notice the long anal fin with 1 spine and 20-26 rays.
  • The sides show a silvery lateral stripe on solid colored flanks.
  • Alternate view of head region.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Silversides (Atherinidae)
Body
Mouth and snout: Terminal, but uniquely shaped, with a beak-like appearance. The anterior portion of the mouth is nearly horizontal (lower jaw slightly ahead of upper), but the posterior portion curves sharply downward. The jaws have small teeth. No barbels. Body patterning, color, and scales: A translucent silver solid color in life; preserved specimens are an opaque white, silver, or tan, with a light silvery lateral stripe and numerous very fine pigment spots (fleck-like) on dorsal surface. Fins clear. 75-84 cycloid lateral scales. Body shape and size: Body fusiform and elongate, slightly laterally compressed; oval in cross section. Typically 50-75 mm (2-3 in) TL; maximum in Wisconsin about 100 mm (4 in).
Fins
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Forked tail. Two dorsal fins, the first with 4 spines and the second with 1 spine and 9-11 rays. Pelvic fins abdominal. Adipose fin absent. Anal fin with 1 spine and 20-26 rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The brook silverside can be distinguished based on its unique beak-like mouth, its two dorsal fins, the first of which has 4 small spines and the second with 1 spine and 9-11 rays, and its elongated anal fin with 1 spine and 20-26 rays. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Similar to non-breeders.
Juveniles
Similar to adults.
Hybrids
None
No similar species.
Compare Similar Species
Comment
Silverside, BrookThe brook silverside is slightly similar to solid silvery elongated minnows and the rainbow smelt. The brook silverside can be distinguished from superficially similar minnows and rainbow smelt based on its unique beak-like mouth, its two dorsal fins, the first of which has 4 small spines and the second with 1 spine and 9-11 rays (vs one dorsal with no spines), and its elongated anal fin with 1 spine and 20-26 rays (vs no spines and 16 or fewer rays).
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