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Author: hepsetus Linnaeus, 1758

Atherina (Atherina) hepsetus Linnaeus, 1758

Diagnosis: head length more than four times in TL. No teeth on pterygoid bones. Dorsal finrays VII-X, I + 10-12; anal finrays I + 11-13. Scales in longitudinal series 59-65. Gillrakers 30-36. Vertebrae 53-57. Size: to 20 cm, usually 15 cm.

Habitat: pelagic littoral, often near shore. Behaviour. gregarious, sometimes in marine lagoons (France) and estuaries (Portugal). Food: pelagic copepods and benthic crustaceans. Reproduction: December-May (Mediterranean: France, Italy). Age: to 3-4 years.

Distribution: Mediterranean, Black Sea and Caspian Sea (common, locally abundant). Atlantic, from Spain to Morocco, Madeira (rather rare).

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Marion, 1894b, pl. 1 (fig. 1-3) | Holt, 1899b, fig. 94 | Lo Bianco, 1909: fig. 279, pl. 34 (fig. 1-3) | Aboussouan, 1964: fig. 16 | Banarescu, 1964: 629, fig.
Otoliths (sagitta). Koken, 1884: 536 | Chaine, 1958: pl. 6.

Sand smelt (Atherina hepsetus)