The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Menidia audens
Menidia audens
(Mississippi Silverside)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Menidia audens Hay, 1882

Common name: Mississippi Silverside

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Smith (1985); Hubbs et al. (1991); Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993). Chernoff et al. (1981) concluded that the Mississippi Silverside M. audens is conspecific with M. beryllina. Suttkus et al. (2005) determined that M. audens is found in freshwater, while M. beryllina is found in brackish water.

Native Range:
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Menidia audens are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AL199320025Bear; Guntersville Lake; Lower Elk; Pickwick Lake; Wheeler Lake
CA1967201217Calleguas; Coyote; Lower Sacramento; Mojave; Monterey Bay; Pajaro; San Francisco Bay; San Francisco Bay; San Joaquin Delta; Santa Barbara Coastal; Santa Clara; Santa Margarita; Suisun Bay; Tulare Lake Bed; Upper Cache; Upper Putah; Upper Yuba
KY199119911Kentucky Lake
OK200820081Lower Cimarron-Skeleton
TN1990201211Guntersville Lake; Hiwassee; Kentucky Lake; Lower Clinch; Lower Cumberland; Lower Cumberland-Old Hickory Lake; Lower Little Tennessee; Lower Tennessee-Beech; Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga; Pickwick Lake; Watts Bar Lake

Table last updated 7/17/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Menidia audens prefers lotic habitats and low flow waters (Simmons 2013).

Means of Introduction: Unauthorized introduction into Clear Lake, California, in 1967 to control the Clear Lake gnat Chaoborus astictopus and chironomid midges, and to serve as a nutrient reservoir to control bluegreen algae blooms (Moyle et al. 1974a; Moyle 1976a). A few introductions in California were authorized; however, many additional stockings were unauthorized and help to spread this fish (Moyle et al. 1974a).

Status: Established in California. Two years after these fish were introduced into Clear Lake, California, this species became the most abundant fish in the littoral zone (Moyle 1976a).

Impact of Introduction: Cook and Moore (1970) gave details of the stocking in Clear Lake, California. In Clear Lake, inland silversides were reported as having displaced native fishes, including the hitch Lavinia exilicauda, the Sacramento blackfish Orthodon microlepidotus, and the now extinct Clear Lake splittail Pogonichthys ciscoides, apparently through competition for food. Inland silversides also may have replaced or diminished introduced bluegill (Moyle 1976a). Li et al. (1976) found the introduction of Mississippi Silversides inhibited growth of black and white crappies Pomoxis sp. for the first two years of life and enhanced growth after that time. Simmons (2013) found that M. audens displaces the native Brook Silverside Labidesthes sicculus. Moyle and Holzhauser (1978) discussed effects on feeding habits of introduced largemouth bass. Moyle et al. (1974) speculated that if this silverside reaches the delta area, it could negatively impact the Delta smelt Hypomesus t. transpacificus and perhaps juvenile striped bass. Baerwald et al. (2012) detected Delta smelt DNA in the gut contents in Mississippi Silversides collected in the Sacramento Deepwater Ship Channel. Moyle (1976a) and Dill and Cordone (1997) provided detailed discussion of the history and reasons for this species' introduction into California and of its impacts.

Remarks: Moyle et al. (1974a) showed a map of the distribution of silversides in California.

References: (click for full references)

Baerwald, M.R., B.M. Schreier, G. Schumer, and B. May. 2012. Detection of threatened Delta smelt in the gut contents of the invasive Mississippi silverside in the San Francisco estuary using TaqMan assays. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 141(6):1600-1607.

Cook, S.F., Jr., and R.L. Moore. 1970. Mississippi silversides, Menidia audens (Atherinidae), established in California. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 99(1):70-73.

Li, H.W., P.B. Moyle, and R.L. Garrett. 1976. Effect of the introduction of the Mississippi silverside (Menidia audens) on the growth of black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) and white crappie (P. annularis) in Clear Lake, California. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 105(3):404-408.

Matern, S.A., P.B. Moyle, and L.C. Pierce. 2002. Native and alien fishes in a California estuarine marsh: twenty-one years of changing assemblages. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 131: 797-816.

Meinz, M., and W.L. Mecum. 1977. A range extension for Mississippi Silversides in California. California Fish and Game 63(4) : 277-278 : 1977.

Moyle, P.B. 1976a. Inland fishes of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Moyle, P.B. 1976b. Fish introduction in California: history and impact on native fishes. Biological Conservation 9:101-118.

Moyle, P.B., F.W. Fisher, and H. Li. 1974. Mississippi silversides and log perch in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River system. California Fish and Game 60(2):145-147.

Moyle, P.B., and N.J. Holzhauser. 1978. Effects of the introduction of Mississippi silverside (Menidia audens) and Florida largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides floridanus) on the feeding habits of young-of-year largemouth bass in Clear Lake, California. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 107(4):574-582.

Shapovalov, L., A.J. Cordone, and W.A. Dill. 1981. A list of freshwater and anadromous fishes of California. California Fish and Game 67(1):4-38.

Simmons, J.W. 2013. Chronology of the invasion of the Tennessee and Cumberland River systems by the Mississippi Silverside, Menidia audens, with analysis of the subsequent decline of the Brook Silverside, Labidesthes sicculus. Copeia 2013(2):292-302.

Sommer, T, B. Harrell, M. Nobriga, R. Brown, P. Moyle, W. Kimmerer, and L. Schemel. 2001. California's Yolo Bypass: Evidence that flood control can be compatible with fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, and agriculture. Fisheries. American Fisheries Society. 26 (8): 6-16.

Suttkus, R.D., B.A. Thompson, and J.K Blackburn. 2005. An analysis of the Menidia complex in the Mississippi River Valley and in two nearby minor drainages. Proceedings of the Southeastern Fishes Council 48:1-9.

Swift, C.C., T.R. Haglund, M. Ruiz, and R.N. Fisher. 1993. The status and distribution of the freshwater fishes of southern California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science 92(3):101-167.

Other Resources:

Author: Neilson, M.E.

Revision Date: 5/14/2019

Peer Review Date: 12/8/2015

Citation Information:
Neilson, M.E., 2024, Menidia audens Hay, 1882: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=2903, Revision Date: 5/14/2019, Peer Review Date: 12/8/2015, Access Date: 7/18/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/18/2024].

Contact us if you are using data from this site for a publication to make sure the data are being used appropriately and for potential co-authorship if warranted.

For general information and questions about the database, contact Wesley Daniel. For problems and technical issues, contact Matthew Neilson.