Common name: Surf sardines, Surf silversides



The family Isonidae comprises the genus Iso with five species, confined to the Indo-Pacific. A single species Iso rhothophilus occurs in Australia waters where it is found in the surf zone.

Surf sardines have a distinctive deep head and anterior that tapers to a slender caudal peduncle, pectoral fins inserted high on the body, usually two separate dorsal fins and a broad, silver mid-lateral stripe. Little is known of their biology.

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Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Surf sardines, ISONIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 09 Aug 2020,


Bloom, D.D., Unmack, P.J., Gosztonyi, A.E., Piller, K.R. & Lovejoy, N.R. 2012. It’s a family matter: Molecular phylogenetics of Atheriniformes and the polyphyly of the surf silversides (Family: Notocheiridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 62: 1025-1030.

Saeed, B., Ivanstoff, W. & Aarn. 2006. Descriptive anatomy of Iso rhothophilus (Ogilby), with a phylogenetic analysis of Iso and a redefinition of Isonidae (Atheriniformes). Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 11: 25–43

Saeed, B., Ivantsoff, W. & Crowley, L.E.L.M. 1993. A new species of surf-inhabiting atheriniform Iso (Pisces: Isonidae). Records of the Western Australian Museum 16(3): 337-346