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 beryllina
Menidia beryllina
(Inland Silverside)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Menidia beryllina (Cope, 1867)

Common name: Inland 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; they also recognized that peninsular Florida populations living in marine environs, formerly considered M. beryllina, to be a distinct species (i.e., M. peninsulae).

Size: 15 cm.

Native Range: Eastern North America including Atlantic and Gulf slopes (mostly near the coast) from Massachusetts to the Rio Grande drainage, Texas, and southeastern New Mexico; north from the Mississippi River and major tributaries (mainly Arkansas and Red Rivers) to southern Illinois and eastern Oklahoma. Also in Mexico (Page and Burr 1991).

Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
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 beryllina are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AR1987199411Dardanelle Reservoir; Frog-Mulberry; Illinois; Lake Conway-Point Remove; Little Missouri; Lower Arkansas; Lower Arkansas-Maumelle; Lower Little Arkansas, Oklahoma; Lower Ouachita-Smackover; Lower White; Ouachita Headwaters
CA196720148Coyote; Lower Sacramento; Middle San Joaquin-Lower Chowchilla; San Francisco Bay; San Joaquin Delta; Santa Margarita; Tomales-Drake Bays; Upper Cache
IL197820139Big Muddy; Kankakee; Lower Kaskaskia; Lower Ohio; Lower Ohio; Lower Wabash; Saline; Upper Illinois; Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau
KS199620064Kaw Lake; Medicine Lodge; Middle Arkansas-Slate; Middle Neosho
MN195019501Twin Cities
NM197219901Upper Pecos-Black
OK1949200747Arkansas-White-Red Region; Bird; Black Bear-Red Rock; Blue; Blue-China; Bois D'arc-Island; Caney; Cimarron Headwaters; Clear Boggy; Coldwater; Deep Fork; Dirty-Greenleaf; Farmers-Mud; Illinois; Kaw Lake; Kiamichi; Lake O' The Cherokees; Lake Texoma; Little; Lower Canadian; Lower Canadian-Walnut; Lower Cimarron; Lower Cimarron-Skeleton; Lower Little Arkansas, Oklahoma; Lower Neosho; Lower North Canadian; Lower North Fork Red; Lower Salt Fork Arkansas; Lower Salt Fork Red; Lower Verdigris; Lower Washita; Middle North Canadian; Middle Verdigris; Middle Washita; Mountain Fork; Muddy Boggy; Northern Beaver; Pecan-Waterhole; Polecat-Snake; Poteau; Robert S. Kerr Reservoir; Spring; Upper Little; Upper Salt Fork Arkansas; Upper Washita; Washita Headwaters; West Cache
TX1945201735Austin-Travis Lakes; Bois D'arc-Island; Buchanan-Lyndon B. Johnson Lakes; Colorado Headwaters; Concho; East Galveston Bay; Elm Fork Trinity; Hubbard; Lake Texoma; Landreth-Monument Draws; Leon; Little; Lower Brazos-Little Brazos; Lower Colorado-Cummins; Lower Frio; Lower Pecos; Lower Pecos-Red Bluff Reservoir; Lower Sulpher; Middle Brazos-Lake Whitney; Middle Brazos-Palo Pinto; Middle Colorado; Middle Colorado-Elm; Middle Concho; Middle Guadalupe; North Concho; Pecan Bayou; Pecos; Red-Washita; South Concho; Upper Clear Fork Brazos; Upper Colorado; Upper Salt Fork Red; Upper San Antonio; White; Yegua

Table last updated 6/15/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Intentionally stocked as forage for sport fish in most locations, but unknown in the Canadian River system. 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). Introduction to the upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers may be the result of dispersal through the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway (Etnier and Starnes 1993) or natural dispersal up the Mississippi made possible by a change in water quality (Burr et al. 1996). Brood stock for Missouri introductions came from Lake Texoma, Oklahoma (Pflieger 1997).

Status: Established in Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kentucky, possibly Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. Two years after these fish were introduced into Clear Lake, California, this species became the most abundant fish in the littoral zone (Moyle 1976a). Pflieger (1997) indicated that none of the Missouri impoundments currently support populations; for instance, the Stockton Reservoir population in Missouri died out during the severe winter of 1976 to 1977.

Impact of Introduction: In Oklahoma, the inland silverside has almost completely replaced the brook silverside Labidesthes sicculus, an ecologically similar species (Gomez and Lindsay 1972; Moyle 1976a). 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 spp. for the first two years of life and enhanced growth after that time. 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: The Oklahoma records are from upstream of the native range of the inland silverside (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.). Moyle et al. (1974a) showed a map of the distribution of silversides in California. There is some disagreement concerning the records of Menidia beryllina in the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in the Illinois and Kentucky area. According to Burr et al. (1996), the species may have either "expanded its range after the low water levels of the late 1980s created water-quality conditions (high dissolved solids) favorable for this species to disperse" or "it may have entered the Ohio River via the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway which now connects Gulf Coast drainages to the Ohio River, especially because of recent (1991) records from both Kentucky and Barkley reservoirs (Etnier and Starnes 1993)." Burr considered either one equally possible. However, Mettee et al. (1996) show no records of this species from the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway. Therefore, we believe that the presence of the species in the Mississippi River in southern Illinois and in the lower Ohio River in Illinois and Kentucky are a result of natural dispersal.  According to Pigg (1987), the species was stocked in Lake Optima in 1981 by the Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation.

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.

Burr, B. M. 1991. The fishes of Illinois: an overview of a dynamic fauna. Proceedings of our living heritage symposium. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 34(4):417-427.

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.

Dill, W.A., and A.J. Cordone. 1997. History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996. Fish Bulletin 178. California Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento, CA. http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt8p30069f&brand=calisphere&doc.view=entire_text.

Gomez, R., and H. L. Lindsay. 1972. Occurrence of Mississippi silversides, Menidia audens (Hay), in Keystone Reservoir and the Arkansas River. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science 52:16-18.

Kraai, J. E., W. P. Provine, and J. A. Prentice. 1983. Case histories of three walleye stocking techniques with cost-to-benefit considerations. Proceedings of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 37(1983):395-400.

Laird, C. A. and L. M. Page. 1996. Non-native Fishes Inhabiting the Streams and Lakes of Illinios. Illinois National History Survey Bulletin. 35(1): 1-51.

Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980 et seq. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC. (Cited as a work rather than as individual accounts in the interest of space).

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, Mike and W. Lee Mecum. 1977. A Range Extension for Mississippi Silversides in California. Calif. Fish and Game 63(4) : 277-278 : 1977.

Miller, R. J., and H. W. Robison. 1973. The fishes of Oklahoma. Oklahoma State University Press, Stillwater, OK.

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.

Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Field Guide Series, volume 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Pflieger, W. L. 1975. The fishes of Missouri. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, MO. 343 pp.

Pigg, J. 1987. Survey of fishes in the Oklahoma panhandle and Harper county, northwestern Oklahoma. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, 67: 45-59.

Red River Authority of Texas. 2001. Red and Canadian Basins Fish Inventory: Red River County.

Red River Authority of Texas. 2001. Red and Canadian Basins Fish Inventory: Grayson County.

Red River Authority of Texas. 2001. Red and Canadian Basins Fish Inventory: Cottle County.

Robison, H. W., and T. M. Buchanan. 1988. Fishes of Arkansas. University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, AR.

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.

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.

Sublette, J. E., M. D. Hatch, and M. Sublette. 1990. The fishes of New Mexico. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM. 393 pp.

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.

FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, Leo Nico, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 5/24/2019

Peer Review Date: 1/14/2013

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, Leo Nico, and Matt Neilson, 2024, Menidia beryllina (Cope, 1867): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=321, Revision Date: 5/24/2019, Peer Review Date: 1/14/2013, Access Date: 6/16/2024

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.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [6/16/2024].

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