Membras martinica

rough silverside





Type Locality



Etymology/Derivation of Scientific Name







Maximum size:  113 mm SL (Martin and Drewry 1978).


Coloration: Double pairs of dark spots on dorsum (Hubbs et al. 1991).


Teeth count:


Counts: Usually fewer than 50 scales in lateral series; fewer than 20 anal fin rays (Hubbs et al. 1991).


Body shape:  Elongate, slightly compressed (Martin and Drewry 1978).


Mouth position: Extremely oblique (Martin and Drewry 1978).


External morphology: Scales ctenoid, rough to the touch; bases of dorsal and anal fin covered with scales; jaws not produced into a beak; snout length equal to or shorter than eye length; scales large (Hubbs et al. 1991).


Distribution (Native and Introduced)

U.S. distribution: Primarily found in coastal waters from New York southward to Mexico (Hubbs et al. 1991).


Texas distribution: Introduced populations abundant in Amistad Reservoir and Falcon Reservoir (Hubbs et al. 1991). Specimen (49 mm TL) collected from the San Gabriel River, near Laneport, TX, at CR 428 (30.6943662°N, 97.2787716°W) on 15 March 2008 (B. Labay, Texas State University, unpublished data).


Abundance/Conservation status (Federal, State, NGO)


Habitat Associations



Mesohabitat: In bays near Maryland, adults found over sandy shores (Schwartz 1964).



Spawning season: On Gulf coast, ripe between March and August, or September; lull in ripening reported between May and July, bimodality of juvenile size distribution supporting this information; ripe in temperature range of 21.2-30.7 degrees C, and salinity range of 9.4-31.1 ppt; spawning in salinity range of 5-25 ppt (Martin and Drewry 1978).


Spawning location: Immediately outside breaker zone on sandy beaches; the demersal eggs adhere together in large clusters which are carried inshore to intertidal zone by wave action (Martin and Drewry 1978).


Reproductive strategy: Eggs are demersal, adhering together in large clusters which are carried inshore to intertidal zone my wave action (Martin and Drewry 1978).


Fecundity: Unfertilized eggs are spherical, slightly yellowish, almost transparent; micropyle relatively small (Martin and Drewry 1978).


Age at maturation






Food habits: 


Growth: Length-frequency distribution data indicates growth of about 9 mm per month for Gulf coast juveniles in summer (Martin and Drewry 1978).


Phylogeny and morphologically similar fishes



Host Records



Commercial or Environmental Importance





Hubbs, C., R.J. Edwards, and G.P. Garrett. 1991. An annotated checklist of the freshwater fishes of Texas, with keys to identification of species. Texas Journal of Science, Supplement 43(4):1-56.


Martin, F.D., and G.E. Drewry. 1978. Development of Fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight: Stromatediae through Ogcocephalidae. Volume VI. Fish and Wildlife Service, Solomons, Maryland. 416 pp.


Schwartz, F.J. 1964. Fishes of the Isle of Wight and Assawoman Bays near Ocean City, Maryland. Chesapeake Science 5(4):172-193.