Julie McGilpin Order assignment Name – Atheriniformes (Greek

Julie McGilpin
Order assignment
Name – Atheriniformes (Greek atherine- a kind of smelt)
Taxonomic status – Superclass: Gnathostomata (jaw fishes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Atheriniformes
9 (varies author to author) Families: Including Atherinidae
(silversides), Menlanotaeniidae (rainbowfishes), and Phallostethidae
~170 genera, 700-800 species
VT Species: Banded killifish (Fundulus disphanus), Brook
silverside (Labidesthes sicculus)
Description –
-Two dorsal fins, he first composed of true spines. Small pelvic fins and
subthoracic in silversides, but anterior in priapiumfishes (if present). In
silversides, the pelvic fins have a spine and five soft rays.
-Ctenoid and cycloid scales present
-Lateral line is absent or poorly developed
-Range from 2-44cm
Habitat – Wide range of habitats; found in both fresh and salt water; tropical or
temperate habitats. If marine, tend to live in coastal areas, with only a few living
in open water.
Distribution – Found worldwide
Ecology and life history – Feed on invertebrates, algae, plankton, and sometimes fish
larvae. Some species attach their eggs to aquatic plants.
Additional details – Because of their colors, rainbowfishes are big in the aquarium
Recent research – A study was performed to determine how the absence of a pituitary
gland would affect the survival of Atheriniformes in fresh water. They discussed
how the results related to the natural habitat and salt water tolerances of the fish
(Schriebman and Kallman 1969).
References used
Bond, C.E. 1996. Biology of Fishes, 2nd ed. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth
Schreibman, M.P., K.D. Kallman. 1969. The effect of hypophysectomy on freshwater
survival in teleosts of the order atheriniformes. General and Comparative
Endocrinology 13:27-38.