Animal Facts

  • Scientific Name

    Atherinops affinis

  • Animal Type


  • Diet

    small crustaceans

  • Size

    to 14.5 inches (36.8 cm)

  • Relatives

    jacksmelt and grunion; family Atherinidae

Natural History

Called "topsmelt" for their habit of swimming up near the surface, these fish school near shore. There's safety in numbers, but topsmelt still fall prey to other fishes, birds and people.


Topsmelt are fished both commercially and by sport fishers.

Cool Facts

Topsmelt can live in salt ponds twice as salty as the sea.

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