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Galaxiids Smelts and Relatives: Osmeriformes

Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Ayu (plecoglossus Altivelis): Species Accounts, Australian Smelt (retropinna Semoni): Species AccountsPHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DI

AYU (Plecoglossus altivelis): SPECIES ACCOUNTS

Smelts, galaxiids, and their relatives are pointed at the ends. Smelts are silvery. Galaxiids and the relatives have a silvery belly but otherwise are brownish or olive with stripes or spots of various colors. These fishes are 1 to 28 inches (2.5 to 71 centimeters) long. Some have very large eyes, and some have no teeth in the upper jaw. Most galaxiids are scaleless.

Smelts, galaxiids, and their relatives live all over the world except near the equator and in Antarctica.

Smelts, galaxiids, and their relatives live in raging mountain streams, slow-flowing rivers, ponds, lakes, estuaries (EHS-chew-air-eez), or where a river meets the sea, shallow nearshore areas of the ocean, and the deep sea, where some live in open water and others on the bottom.

Smelts, galaxiids, and their relatives eat bottom-dwelling or open-water insects; crustaceans (krus-TAY-shuns), or water-dwelling animals that have jointed legs and a hard shell but no backbone; fishes; mollusks (MAH-lusks), or animals with a soft, unsegmented body usually covered by a hard shell; and worms. One species feeds on the stinging cells and tentacles of jellyfishes.

Smelts, galaxiids, and their relatives are used for commercial and recreational fishing.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded Vertebrates