Fun Sillago Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Sillago Facts For Kids

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The Sillago is one of five genera of smelt-whitings belonging to the family Sillaginidae, the Actinopterygii class of ray-finned fishes, and the only non-monotypic genus in the family. All species of fish under this genus are found in the benthic zone that is the lowest marine regions, meaning these fish are found in shallow waters and coastal areas. Because various species of Sillago are found in plenty, these fishes are not given much importance in the theory range. This genus is so diverse and often the distribution and range of several species overlap each other and make the process of identifying or separating them challenging.

In 1985, the complex relationship between the members of the Sillaginidae family was finally cleared up. The Sillago was then further divided into three subgenera, and as of now 31 species belonging to this genus are recognized including the oriental sillago (Sillago aeolus), golden-lined sillago (Sillago analis ), silver-banded sillago (Sillago argentifasciata), western trumpeter sillago (Sillago burrus), Japanese whiting sillago (Sillago japonica), silver sillago (Sillago sihama), Bay sillago (Sillago ingenuua), slender sillago (Sillago attenuata), western school sillago (Sillago bassensis ), Boutan's sillago (Sillago boutani ), western trumpeter sillago (Sillago burrus), sand sillago (Sillago ciliata), Flinders' sillago (Sillago flindersi), and the Indian sillago (Sillago indica). These fishes have an extensive range and are found in the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia. In Australia, these fishes are valued as food fish or as live bait for larger species.

Read on to find out more details about their distribution, range, habitat, biology, marine ecology, feeding, and breeding habits! Learn about some other fish from our fluke fish facts and pumpkinseed sunfish facts pages.

Fun Sillago Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Polychaete worms and invertebrate larvae

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

2.9 oz (85 g)

How long are they?

11.8 in (30 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Sliver, gray, and yellow-green

Skin Type

Wet, slimy scales

What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern or Data Deficient

Where you'll find them?

Estuaries, Bays, Shallow-sandy Waters


Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Australia, Northern Red Sea









Sillago Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Sillago?

Sillago is the genus of small smelt fishes belonging to the Animalia kingdom.

What class of animal does a Sillago belong to?

All smelt whitings under the genus Sillago belong to the Actinopterygii class of ray-finned fishes and the Sillaginidae family.

How many Sillagos are there in the world?

The accurate data about their population size is unknown. Fishes of this genus are found in plenty across their range and distribution.

Where does a Sillago live?

The Sillago fish species haas the widest distribution and covers most of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The genus range occupies the east coast of Africa, northern Red Sea, Japan, western and northern Australia, with most species concentrated around Southeast Asia and the Indonesian Archipelago.

What is a Sillago's habitat?

The Sillago habitat includes oceans, sandy rivers, lakes, and ponds. Most species like to live in freshwater habitats while others those that prefer to live in the ocean temporarily migrate to freshwater bodies during the breeding season. Their depth range is generally 65.6-164 ft (20-50 m). They have excellent adaptability to waters with cool, tropical, and sub-tropical temperatures!

Who does the Sillago live with?

All species of this genus are schooling fish and live in medium to large-sized groups.

How long does a Sillago live?

The life span of a Sillago fish varies according to its species and natural habitat.

How do they reproduce?

Studies in marine biology have shown that all species of Sillago breed through spawning. A female fish releases all her eggs, followed by the males releasing their sperm and fertilizing the eggs outside their body. The length and weight of the female fish decide the number of eggs she can produce. The average number of eggs laid by a female is 800-1,000. They lay fewer eggs in lakes and ponds compared to the ocean. The breeding season for species differs according to their habitat, marine ecology, and geographical location. The young hatchlings do not receive any kind of parental care and are independent of the moment they hatch. Some fishes may die after spawning, but those who survive to move to open freshwater regions and spend summers along the coast.

What is their conservation status?

 All species of the Sillago genus are classified as Least Concern or Data Deficient.

Sillago Fun Facts

What does the Sillago look like?

The species are small-sized fishes that live in estuaries and offshore waters. Separating the species from each other is challenging, as several are similar in length, weight, and color such as silver sillago fishes (Sillago sihama) are covered with silver-gray scales, have no prominent markings, the dorsal and tail fins have brownish tips, the belly region fades from sliver to pale yellow or sandy brown, dark gray-brown spots are visible on the dorsal-fins, a light brown caudal fin, and a white anal fin is also present among them. The Japanese whiting sillago has a slightly compressed, elongated body with a terminal mouth, covered in small gray-yellow scales, the upper parts of the fish are greenish-gray, while the lower regions or the underside is whitish.

Discover interesting facts about Sillago sihama fishes.

How cute are they?

Some may find them to be cute because of their small size, shiny skin, and tiny eyes.

How do they communicate?

Sillago (smelt whitings) communicate through several ways including gestures or body language, motions, electrical pulses, smell, and among some members even bioluminescence. They make use of sound to communicate as well. These sounds are not audible to human beings, but the presence of water makes the sounds travel a relatively large distance.

How big is a Sillago?

The length of an individual fish depends on its species such as the Japanese whiting is 11.8 in (30 cm) in length, whereas the western trumpeter can grow up to 14 in (36 cm) in length.

skipjack tuna is nearly three times the size of these fishes.

How fast can a Sillago swim?

Different species of Sillago (smelt whiting) can swim at different speeds.

How much does a Sillago weigh?

The Sillago (smelt whiting) fishes weigh around 2.9 oz (85 g). They can be about the same size as a round goby.

What are the male and female names of the species?

These fishes do not have separate names for their male and female members. They are simply known as males and females.

What would you call a baby Sillago?

A baby Sillago (smelt whiting) is called a fry.

What do they eat?

Sillagos (smelt whitings) forage across their range and usually at a depth of 98.4 ft (30 m). Their diet includes young bony fishes, crustaceans, blue-green algae, and other small invertebrates.

The Japanese whiting sillago burrows into sand or the sea bed to escape from predators like sharks, and to forage for prey as well.

Are they dangerous?

No, these tiny fishes pose no threat to humans. In fact, some bury themselves in the sand when disturbed or frightened by human presence.

Would they make a good pet?

They do not have any qualities to make them aquarium-friendly fish. This is because they often get preyed upon by larger fish species. They also require a specific kind of ambience which might not be possible inside a home. They cannot make good pets.

Did you know...

Recent studies and research conducted on the Sillago sihama species have revealed that they are distant relatives of the Haemulidae family.

The bay whiting sillago is one of three divisions of the smelt whiting family Sillaginidae and is mostly spotted near bays, its common name is a reference to its habitat. The silver sillago (Sillago sihama) is commonly seen in coastal areas and even recorded in freshwater. It is named after its appearance and coloration.

These fish can be caught by a variety of methods including seine, gill, and cast nets as well as by line. Estuarine aquaculture in India, Japan, and Taiwan has utilized Sillagos as an important species and similar trials have been conducted in Australia. They are also considered a staple food in various countries of the world and can be very delicious when deep-fried.

The class Actinopterygii was described by Adolf Von Klein in 1885, and all ray-finned fishes of the world belong to the class.

Is the Sillago non-monotypic?

Yes, the Sillago is non-monotypic. It is the only monotypic genus of the Sillaginidae family.

Where to catch Sillagos?

Sillagos are found in plenty and fished by fishermen across the northern Red Sea, Australia, Pacific Ocean, and Indian Ocean.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these clown triggerfish facts and longhorn cowfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Sillago coloring pages.

Main image by Izuzuki

Second image by Izuzuki

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