Alosa aestivalis  (Mitchill, 1814)

Blueback shad
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Image of Alosa aestivalis (Blueback shad)
Alosa aestivalis
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: Alosa: Latin, alausa = a fish cited by Ausonius and Latin, halec = pickle, dealing with the Greek word hals = salt; it is also the old Saxon name for shad = "alli" ; 1591 (Ref. 45335).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; pelagic-neritic; anadromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 5 - 55 m (Ref. 5951).   Subtropical; 41°N - 25°N, 84°W - 60°W (Ref. 188)

Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 40.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7251); common length : 27.5 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 188); max. published weight: 200.00 g (Ref. 7251); max. reported age: 8 years (Ref. 12193)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 15-20; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 15 - 21; Vertebrae: 47 - 53. Moderately compressed, belly with distinct keel of scutes. Upper jaw with a distinct notch; lower jaw rising steeply within mouth; minute teeth present at front of jaws (disappearing with age). Lower gill rakers 41 to 52 (fewer in fishes under 10 cm standard length), slender. Back dark blue, sometimes bluish-grey; a dark spot on shoulder (Ref. 188). Peritoneum black (Ref. 7251). Branchiostegal rays 7 (Ref. 4639).

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

Western Atlantic: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia south to the St. John's River, Florida; also in lower parts of rivers.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Form schools and possibly wintering near the bottom and out from the coast, approaching the shore in the late spring. Feed on small fishes, copepods and small shrimps. Spawn in brackish- or freshwaters of rivers, arriving in coastal waters a month or so later than A. pseudoharengus (in April at Chesapeake Bay, apparently when the water is above 70° C and later further north). Eggs are essentially pelagic, demersal in still water (Ref. 4639). Larvae are found in fresh and brackish rivers (Ref. 4639). Juveniles leave fresh and brackish nursery grounds at about 5 cm, migrating downstream (Ref. 4639). Marketed mostly fresh and salted (Ref. 188). Parasites found are acanthocephalan and nematodes (Ref. 37032).

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. 90363)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: commercial
FAO(fisheries: production; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Alien/Invasive Species database | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | DiscoverLife | ECOTOX | Faunafri | Fishtrace | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GOBASE | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | iSpecies | PubMed | Scirus | SeaLifeBase | Tree of Life | uBio | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00794 (0.00359 - 0.01758), b=3.05 (2.87 - 3.23), based on LWR estimates for this Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.6   ±0.3 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.18; tm=4; Fec=45,800).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate to high vulnerability (51 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.