Engraulis encrasicholus

Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Engraulis encrasicholus Linnaeus, 1758

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Engraulis encrasicolus (Linnaeus, 1758) (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: body elongate, slender, oval, belly rounded and not keeled with scutes. Snout prominent and pointed, projecting well in front of tip of lower jaw, mouth inferior; upper jaw long, reaching well back behind eye. Dorsal and anal fins short, the latter behind dorsal fin base. Scales very easily shed. Colour: back clear green or blue/green, quickly fading to fleshy grey, flanks with a silver stripe, edged above by a dark line, belly pale; caudal fin with a dark hind margin. Size: to 20 cm, usually 12-15 cm.

Habitat: coastal pelagic, euryhaline (5-41ppt salinity), even entering lagoons, lakes or estuaries, in winter descending to 150 m in Mediterranean (or down to 400 m off West Africa), forming large shoals, migratory. Food: planktonic organisms, chiefly calanoid, copepod, cirrepede and mollusc larvae. Reproduction: in northern Europe rather prolonged, from April to August (and throughout October on Biscay coast), May to October, with maximum in July to September (Adriatic); eggs pelagic, ovoid and not spherical.

Distribution: Atlantic coasts northwards to southern North Sea and coasts of the British Isles; also Mediterranean, Black Sea and Sea of Azov.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Ehrenbaum, 1909: 370, fig. 141 | Fage, 1920: 9, fig. 1-7 | D'Ancona, 1931:16, fig. 20-21, pl. I (fig. 8-18) | Varagnolo, 1964: 252, pl. I (fig. 3) | Marinaro, 1971: 17, pl. 1, fig. 4.
Otoliths (sagitta). Jenkins, 1902: 119, pl. III (fig. 19) | Sanz Echeverría, 1926: 148, fig. 3; 1928: 152, pl. IV (fig. 7) | Chaine, 1938b: 112, pl. XI | Scuderi, 1957: 240, fig. 7.


Various forms have been distinguished, but are not universally accepted as subspecies.