Brook Silverside

Labidesthes sicculus

brook_silverside.jpg

Image of a brook silverside
Joseph R. Tomelleri. Used with permission.
Family

Atherinidae (silversides) in the order Atheriniformes (silversides and allies)

Description

Slender, translucent fish with a silvery lateral band along the sides. Silversides have two dorsal fins; long, pointed, "beaklike" snouts; and relatively large mouths. The back of this species is pale greenish-yellow with silvery reflections; the scales are faintly outlined by black specks. Sides are silvery, with a bright silvery frontal stripe. Belly is silvery-white. Spinous (first) dorsal fin has a narrow, dusky tip; otherwise fins are plain.

Size

Total length: 2 1/2 to 4 inches.

Habitat and conservation

Prefers clear, warm water with no noticeable current, such as backwaters and overflow pools of large streams. Remains near the surface, never descending more than a few feet. In lakes and reservoirs, typically occurs in coves and along the shore. Second in abundance only to the mosquitofish in standing waters of the Bootheel lowlands.

Foods

Young eat microcrustaceans. Adults eat insects.

image of Brook Silverside Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri

Nearly statewide; not found in the northwest, the Kansas City region and the north-central parts of the state.

Life cycle

Spawns from late spring to summer. Eggs attach to vegetation or other substrate by a long filament. Activity regulated by light intensity; very active in daytime and on moon-bright nights; motionless in the dark.

Human connections

Fun to watch. They can be seen leaping out of the water over and over again, especially on moonlit nights. They will follow a flashlight beam shone onto the water at night.

Ecosystem connections

Controls microcrustaceans and aquatic insects.