Atherinops affinis

iridescent fish, silver to purple colors, viewed from side on a bed of seaweed.

Common Name: Topsmelt

Scientific Name: Atherinops affinis

Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family: Animalia, Chordata, Actinopterygii, Atheriniformes, Atherinopsidae

Diet: Algae, zooplankton, detritus, small crustaceans, small fish

Habitat: Marine, brackish waters, ~26 meter depths, bays, muddy areas, kelp beds, and estuaries

Range: Vancouver Island (Canada) to Gulf of California

Identification: Silver with yellow blotches on its sides, anal fin begins below first dorsal fin

Reproduction: Oviparous (egg-laying), deposits eggs in prepared nest on the bottom, 200-1000 eggs. Topsmelt spawn within eelgrass beds

Behavior: Swim in large schools

Predators: Barred sand bass, California halibut, staghorn sculpin, kelp bass, leopard sharks, and other large fish, seabirds, dolphins, sea lions, and harbor seals

Citations:Love, Milton S. 2011.