Mediterranean Sand Smelt – Atherina HepsetusDescription

A member of the Silverside family, the Mediterranean Sand Smelt or Atherina Hepsetus lives true to its name and measures a maximum of 15cm while being one of the most widespread species within the Mediterranean Sea! The rest of the species within the Silverside genus occupy temperate and tropical seas and oceans worldwide! In general no species exceeds 20cm and most do not exceed 5cm in length!

They owe their name to the large silver streak that is apparent on their flanks! They rarely live more than 4 years.


Mediterranean Sand Smelt are most often seen in the littoral zone, that is in the shallows close to shore! Adult fish group in great schools!


Carnivorous in nature, sand smelt, feed most readily on zooplankton while young but also feed on crustaceans and copepods.

Life Cycle

Reproduction occurs from April to July. Atherina Hepsetus Population spurts and blooming schools appear end of August. Fish sexually mature when they reach 1 year of age!

Dive Site Encounters

Everywhere! All Cyprus Scuba Diving Sites!


Distribution Map (Chance of Encounter Red > 0.8 Yellow > 0.2)

Atherina Hepsetus Distribution Map


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