Brevoortia tyrannus  (Latrobe, 1802)

Atlantic menhaden
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Brevoortia tyrannus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Brevoortia tyrannus (Atlantic menhaden)
Brevoortia tyrannus
Picture by Flescher, D.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Clupeiformes (Herrings) > Clupeidae (Herrings, shads, sardines, menhadens) > Alosinae
Etymology: Brevoortia: From James Carson Brevoort (1818-1887), studie the fauna from Ohio and South Caroline (Ref. 45335).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; brackish; pelagic-neritic; pH range: 1.0 - 36.0; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 50 m (Ref. 188).   Subtropical; ? - 26°C (Ref. 38970); 46°N - 30°N, 81°W - 64°W (Ref. 54290)

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 18 - 32 cm
Max length : 50.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 188)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 18-24; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 18 - 24. Upper jaw with median notch. Pelvic fin with rounded hind margin, inner fin rays equal or nearly equal to outer fin rays when fin folded back. Pre-dorsal scales modified; scales on back, above base of anal fin and at base of tail much smaller and irregularly placed. A black spot behind gill opening, followed along flank by approximately 6 lines of smaller spots (Ref. 188). Silvery, with brassy sides and a dark bluish green back (Ref. 7251).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Western Atlantic: Nova Scotia, Canada southward to Indian River, Florida, USA.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Found inshore in summer, but at least some moving into deeper water in winter. Adults are found in near surface waters (Ref. 38984), usually in shallow areas overlying continental shelf, in greatest abundance immediately adjacent to major estuaries (Ref. 4639). Juveniles are also generally pelagic, with smallest size groups farthest up river (Ref. 38986). Form large and very compact schools, both of juveniles and adults. Migrate north - south; also in and out of bays and inlets. Feed by filtering phytoplankton (diatoms (Ref. 5951)) and zooplankton (small crustaceans, annelid worms and detritus (Ref. 5951)). High water temperatures apparently limit breeding. Spawn probably all year; nursery areas in estuaries. Larvae are pelagic (Ref. 38985), probably spend about a month in waters over continental shelf (Ref. 38983), entering estuarine waters at about 10 mm and larger (Ref. 844). Marketed fresh, salted, canned or smoked. Mainly used for production of oil, fertilizer and fishmeal (Ref. 188). Parasites found are isopods, copepod, cestodes and trematodes (Ref. 37032).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Breeding season apparently limited by high water temperatures (20.5°C monthly mean maximum). Spawning activity occurring almost every month in some part of the range (Ref. 2472, 39013, 844). Spawning temperature ranges from 4.4°C to 23.6°C, with peak activity at 15-18°C (Ref. 39014). Salinity ranges from 10 ppt (Ref. 39015) to usually greater than 25 ppt (Ref. 844). Fecundity observed is from 38,000 to 631,000 eggs per season (Ref. 39013).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Whitehead, P.J.P., 1985. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 7. Clupeoid fishes of the world (suborder Clupeioidei). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the herrings, sardines, pilchards, sprats, shads, anchovies and wolf-herrings. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(7/1):1-303. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 188)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: highly commercial
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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5156   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01096 (0.00629 - 0.01910), b=3.12 (2.97 - 3.27), based on LWR estimates for species & Subfamily-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.2   ±0.2 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.4; tm=1-3; Fec=38,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low to moderate vulnerability (30 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.