Order OSMERIFORMES

COMMENTS
v. 3.0 – 28 Jan. 2017  view/download PDF

5 families · 17 genera · 43 species/subspecies                                                                                 

Family OSMERIDAE Smelts
6 genera · 17 species/subspecies                                                                                       

Allosmerus Hubbs 1925    allos, another, i.e., another genus of smelts, “intermediate in most respects” between Osmerus and Thaleichthys

Allosmerus elongatus (Ayres 1854)    referring to its “elongated and compressed” form or body shape

Hypomesus Gill 1862    hypo, below; mesos, middle, referring to position of ventral fins “nearly under middle” of dorsal fin of H. pretiosus

Hypomesus japonicus (Brevoort 1856)    Japanese, named from an illustration of a specimen taken from Hakodate, Oshima Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan, during the U.S. Japan Expedition (1852-1854) under the command of Matthew C. Perry

Hypomesus nipponensis McAllister 1963    ensis, suffix denoting place: Nippon, or Japan, where it is native to lakes and estuaries of Hokkaido (now introduced and established in California, USA)

Hypomesus olidus (Pallas 1814)    smelly, “smells very bad” (translation), referring to cucumber-like odor (some ichthyologists say olidus means oily; while the fish does have oily flesh, this translation is incorrect)

Hypomesus pretiosus (Girard 1854)    precious, presumably referring to its delicate flavor

Hypomesus transpacificus McAllister 1963    trans-, over, referring to the notion (now incorrect) that it occurs on both sides of the Pacific, and “to the friendship of Japanese and Canadian ichthyologists”

Mallotus Cuvier 1829    fleecy or woolly, referring to band of elongate scales along lateral line and middle of belly of breeding males, which appear to be hairy

Mallotus villosus villosus (Müller 1776)    woolly or shaggy, referring to band of elongate scales along lateral line and middle of belly of breeding males, which appear to be hairy

Mallotus villosus catervarius (Pennant 1784)    in a crowd, i.e., presumably referring to its occurrence in “immense shoals” on the eastern coast of Kamchatka, Russia

Osmerus Linnaeus 1758    latinization of the Greek osmeres, odorous, referring to their cucumber-like odor [note: the vernacular “smelt” does not refer to this curious smell, but instead may derive from the Old Dutch smalt, meaning grease or melted butter, referring to how the fish’s oily flesh gives it a “melt in your mouth” texture]

Osmerus dentex Steindachner & Kner 1870    with large teeth, referring to strong fang-like teeth on tongue and front of vomer

Osmerus eperlanus eperlanus (Linnaeus 1758)    latinization of the Old French éperlan, a vernacular name applied to small edible fishes that migrate to fresh water to spawn

Osmerus eperlanus schonfoldi McAllister 1984    first available treatment of “Eperlanus Schonfoldii” of Rutty 1772 (named but not described), patronym not identified, possibly in honor of Dutch naturalist Stephan Schonevelde (also spelled Schonefeld, Schone Velde, Schoenfeld, and presumably Schonfold), whose 1624 book on marine animals is cited by Rutty

Osmerus mordax mordax (Mitchill 1814)    biting, referring to strong fang-like teeth on tongue and front of vomer, a “formidable apparatus for a small fish”

Osmerus mordax spectrum Cope 1870    etymology not explained, perhaps spectrum in the sense of vision, referring to its “remarkably large eye” (⅓ length of head), and/or spectrum in the sense of a spirit of apparition, referring to its translucent color in life

Spirinchus Jordan & Evermann 1896    a 1657 name for smelt used by Polish scholar and physician John Jonston (1603-1675, writing as Johannes Jonstonus), possibly a latinization of spirinche, a 17th-century Anglo-Saxon word for smelt, itself possibly derived from the Middle English sperlinge, Old French esperlinge, or Old Dutch spierling; according to Moyle, Inland Fishes of California (1976, 2002), the name means “breath-beginning” (spiro, breath; inchoatus, beginning) and refers to the “conspicuous duct that connects the air bladder (=lung) to the gut,” but we doubt this explanation since physostomus gas bladders are common in fishes, and because the name appears to have a clear relationship to similar names of Teutonic origin

Spirinchus lanceolatus (Hikita 1913)    referring to its lanceolate shape, like that of a willow leaf

Spirinchus starksi (Fisk 1913)    in honor of fish osteologist Edwin Chapin Starks (1867-1932), Stanford University, for his “able assistance” in the preparation of Fisk’s paper

Spirinchus thaleichthys (Ayres 1860)    presumably named for its similarity to Thaleichthys pacificus, a related species with a similar flavor; Ayres said this species “presents an entire blending of the characters on which Girard proposed to separate” Thaleichthys from Osmerus

Thaleichthys Girard 1858    etymology not explained, probably thalia, abundance, referring to what Richardson described as “immense shoals” during its freshwater spawning runs along the Pacific Coast of North America; ichthys, fish (an alternate explanation is that thalia means “rich” and refers to its oily flesh)

Thaleichthys pacificus (Richardson 1837)    Pacific, referring to distribution along the Pacific Coast of North America (from southern California north to the Bering Sea)


Family PLECOGLOSSIDAE Ayu or Sweetfish

Plecoglossus Temminck & Schlegel 1846    plecktos, plaited; glossus, tongue, referring to its “peculiar” ridged tongue (translation)

Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis (Temminck & Schlegel 1846)    altus, high; velum, sail, referring to higher dorsal fin compared to other members of the salmon family (in which, at the time, osmeriform fishes were thought to belong)

Plecoglossus altivelis chinensis Wu & Shan 2005    ensis, suffix denoting place: China (and Taiwan), where it occurs

Plecoglossus altivelis ryukyensis Nishida 1988    ensis, suffix denoting place: Ryukyu Islands, Japan, where it occurs


Family SALANGIDAE Icefishes or Noodlefishes
7 genera · 17 species

Hemisalanx Regan 1908    hemi-, partial, referring to close affinity to Salanx (“very hard to be distinguished from it,” according to Fang [1934])

Hemisalanx brachyrostralis (Fang 1934)    brachy, short; rostralis, snouted, referring to snout “desiredly shorter” than postorbital portion of head

Neosalangichthys Fu, Li, Xia & Lei 2012    neo-, new, literally a new genus of Salangichthys, referring to previous placement of N. ishikawae

Neosalangichthys ishikawae (Wakiya & Takahashi 1913)    in honor of biologist Chiyomatsu Ishikawa (1861-1935), Tokyo Imperial University, for kindness in placing materials at the authors’ disposal and valuable assistance in various ways

Neosalanx Wakiya & Takahashi 1937    neo-, new, i.e., a new species of Salanx, type species of family

Neosalanx anderssoni (Rendahl 1923)    in honor of Johan Gunnar Andersson (1874-1960), Swedish archaeologist, paleontologist and geologist, who obtained type [often misspelled andersoni with a single “s”]

Neosalanx brevirostris (Pellegrin 1923)    brevis, short; rostris, snout, referring to shorter snout compared to the similar Salanx hyalocranius (=Protosalanx chinensis)

Neosalanx hubbsi Wakiya & Takahasi 1937    in honor of ichthyologist Carl (misspelled Karl) L. Hubbs (1894-1979), University of Michigan, for “kind suggestions and valuable help in reading [the authors’] manuscript”

Neosalanx jordani Wakiya & Takahasi 1937    in honor of the late David Starr Jordan (1851-1931), ichthyologist and “esteemed friend and teacher”

Neosalanx oligodontis Chen 1956    oligo-, few; odontis, tooth, referring to single row of minute teeth on premaxillary and maxillary (fewer teeth compared to congeners, but this is not mentioned in description), and/or toothless tongue, mandible and palatine

Neosalanx reganius Wakiya & Takahasi 1937    ius, belonging to: ichthyologist Charles Tate Regan (1878-1943), Natural History Museum (London), who revised the family in 1908

Neosalanx tangkahkeii (Wu 1931)    in honor of Tang Kah Kei, founder of l’Université d’Amï (no other information available)

Parasalanx Regan 1908    para-, near, referring to similarity and/or close affinity to Salanx, type genus of family

Parasalanx cuvieri (Valenciennes 1850)    in honor of the “great naturalist” (translation) Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), who created the genus Salanx in 1816

Protosalanx Regan 1908    protos, first, allusion not explained, perhaps describing a Salanx (type genus of family) with dorsal fin entirely in front of anal (also the first genus keyed in Regan’s revision of the family); Fang (1934) says name indicates that Protosalanx “may be regarded as the most primitive and less specialized form” in the family

Protosalanx chinensis (Basilewsky 1855)    ensis, suffix denoting place: China, where type locality (Gulf of Tschili, or Zhili) is situated (also occurs in Korea)

Salangichthys Bleeker 1860    salang, a more euphonic declension of the nominative Salanx, provisionally proposed as a new genus related to Salanx; ichthys, fish

Salangichthys microdon (Bleeker 1860)    micro-, small; odon, tooth, referring to its small teeth, much smaller than Parasalanx cuvieri and Protosalanx chinensis, its presumed congeners at the time

Salanx Cuvier 1816    “Greek name of an unknown fish” (translation), allusion not explained [according to FishBase, name is a latinization of the Filipino salamga and French salangana, both referring to a type of swallow, but this explanation has no basis in reality]

Salanx acuticeps Regan 1908    acutus, pointed; ceps, head, referring to “acutely pointed” snout

Salanx ariakensis Kishinouye 1902    ensis, suffix denoting place: Ariake Sea, Kyushu, Japan, type locality, where they were collected from a weir

Salanx longianalis (Regan 1908)    longus, long; analis, pertaining to anal fin, presumably referring to length of anal fin, with 30-32 rays, one of the longest in the genus

Salanx prognathus (Regan 1908)    pro-, in front of; gnathus, jaw, referring to projecting lower jaw

Salanx reevesii (Gray 1831)    in honor of naturalist John Reeves (1774-1856), who gave to the British Museum (Natural History) many of the Chinese fishes he illustrated, including type of this one


Family RETROPINNIDAE Southern Smelts
2 genera · 4 species

Retropinna Gill 1862    named for Argentina retropinna Richardson 1848, retro, back; pinnis, fin, referring to posterior insertion of dorsal fin, above anus (Gill attempted to avoid tautonomy by unnecessarily renaming type species R. richardsonii)

Retropinna retropinna (Richardson 1848)    retro, back; pinnis, fin, referring to posterior insertion of dorsal fin, above anus

Retropinna semoni (Weber 1895)    in honor of German zoologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Semon (1859-1918), who collected type

Retropinna tasmanica McCulloch 1920    Tasmanian, referring to Austrialian island where it occurs in fresh, brackish and marine waters

Stokellia Whitley 1955    ia, belonging to: amateur ichthyologist Gerald Stokell (1890-1972), who collected and studied New Zealand’s freshwater fishes for over 40 years, and described S. anisodon in 1941

Stokellia anisodon (Stokell 1941)    anisos, unequal; odon, tooth, referring to teeth on upper jaw restricted to anterior parts of mouth


Family PROTOTROCTIDAE Southern Graylings

Prototroctes Günther 1864    protos, first; troctes, from the Latin tructa, trout, “in allusion to its Salmonoid affinities,” Günther wrote in 1870

Prototroctes maraena Günther 1864    latinization of Maräne, German word for whitefish, having the “general habit” of a Coregonus

Prototroctes oxyrhynchus Günther 1870    oxy, sharp; rhynchus, snout, referring to its pointed snout [extinct]