Atherinopsis californiensis





The common pelagic fish scientifically known as the Atherinopsis californiensis is known to be found within north temperate and north subtropical regions.  Moreover, the geographic distribution ranges from Oregon to southern Baja and includes the western Gulf of California.  Habitat preference includes estuaries and coastal marine environments while the depth range extends from the 0-29 meters (1). While fish reach maturity after about 2 years with body length ranging from 18-20 cm, adult body length can reach a maximum of approximately 44 cm.  The age range of the jacksmelt is about nine or ten years.  Fertilization type is classified as external in which the females lay eggs on marine plants and floating objects which are fertilized by male jacksmelts.  In respect to reproduction, spawning occurs multiple times over the reproductive season which is between October and March.  While the diameter of mature eggs range from 2.0-2.5 mm, hatching occurs ten to fourteen days after fertilization (2).

(1) “Jack Silverside.” Discover Life. The Polistes Corporation, https://www.discoverlife.org/20/q?search=Atherinopsis+californiensis.

(2)“Jacksmelt Atherinopsos californiensis.”  California Water Boards, State of California, https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralcoast/water_issues/programs/duke_energy/docs/sampling/jacksmelt.pdf.


  • Marine Neritic