Slender Hardyhead, Atherinomorus lacunosus (Forster 1801)

Other Names: Hardyhead Silverside, Pitted Hardyhead, Robust Hardyhead, Wide-banded Hardyhead Silverside

Slender Hardyheads, Atherinomorus lacunosus, in the Maldives. Source: Jim Greenfield / FishBase. License: All rights reserved

A greenish-grey hardyhead with an iridescent blue line running along the upper edge of the broad silver midlateral stripe along the side.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Atherinomorus lacunosus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 Jan 2020,

Slender Hardyhead, Atherinomorus lacunosus (Forster 1801)

More Info


Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, around the tropical north to at least One Tree Island, Queensland; also reefs in the Torres Strait and in the Coral Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical, east-Atlantic-Indo-west Pacific.
Commonly forms large schools along sandy shorelines and reef margins. 


Dorsal fin IV-VII + I, 8-11; Anal fin I, 12-16; Pectoral fin 15-19; Longitudinal scale series 39-44; Predorsal scales 17-22; Gill rakers (lower limb) 18-25.
Body depth 4.1-5.6 in SL; eye large, 2.4-3.1 in HL; upper jaw reaching to or beyond vertical at front margin of pupil; teeth present on vomer and palatines; lateral process of premaxilla very low, wide; upper margin of the dentary almost flat distally, no distinct tubercle at posterior end; small teeth on endopterygoids, not forming obvious ridges; anus near or usually behind posterior tip of pelvic fin; lower margin of midlateral band reaching below ventral end of midlateral (third) scale row and reaching to almost centre of fourth scale row at level of anal-fin origin.

Species Citation

Atherina lacunosa Forster in Bloch & Schneider 1801, Systema Ichthyologiae : 112. Type locality: New Caledonia.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Slender Hardyhead, Atherinomorus lacunosus (Forster 1801)


Allen, G.R. 1996. New records of reef and shore fishes from northwestern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 18: 109-112 

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. 

Conand, F. 1993. Life history of the silverside Atherinomorous lacunosus (Atherinidae) in New Caledonia. Fish Biology 42: 851-863.

Forster, J.R. in Bloch, M.E. & Schneider, J.G. 1801. Systema Ichthyologiae Iconibus ex Illustratum. Berlin. 584 pp. 110 pls 

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp. 

Ivantsoff, W. & Crowley, L.E.L.M. 1991. Review of the Australian silverside fishes of the genus Atherinomorus (Atherinidae). Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 42: 479-505 figs 1-5 

Ivantsoff, W. & Crowley, L.E.L.M. 1999. Atherinidae. pp. 2113-2139 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790. 

Kimura, S., Golani, D., Iwatsuki, Y., Tabuchi, M. & Yoshino, T. 2007. Redescriptions of the Indo-Pacific atherinid fishes Atherinomorus forskalii, Atherinomorus lacunosus, and Atherinomorus pinguis. Ichthyological Research 54(2): 145-159 (as Atherinomorus pinguis)

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 1. Eels- Snappers, Muraenidae - Lutjanidae. Australia : Zoonetics pp. 1-302.

Lacépède, B.G. 1803. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : chez Plassan Vol. 5 803 pp. 21 pls. 

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds) The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp.

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp.

Taylor, W.R. 1964. Fishes of Arnhem Land. Records of the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land 4: 44-307 figs 1-68 (described as Pranesus maculatus)

Whitehead, P.J.P. & Ivantsoff, W. 1983. Atherina lacunosa and the fishes described by J.R. Forster. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 29(4): 355-364 fig. 1

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37246009

Depth:1-39 m

Habitat:Pelagic, inshore

Max Size:25 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map