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
Marine; freshwater; brackish; pelagic-neritic; anadromous (Ref. 51243). Temperate; 48°N - 37°N, 27°E - 54°E
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 32.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 593); common length : 20.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 188); max. published weight: 120.00 g (Ref. 593); max. reported age: 7 years (Ref. 10549)
spines: 0. Body `shad-like', usually rather deep and compressed. Total gill rakers 50 to 180, long and thin, distinctly longer than filaments. Teeth poorly developed in jaws, sometimes barely detectable. A black spot posterior to gill opening and occasionally further black spots on flank in some cases.
Eurasia: Black Sea, Sea of Azov and Caspian Sea.
Schooling and migratory (Ref. 188); at sea, pelagic in coastal waters with steady current and avoids areas with stable salinity; migrates from sea to mouth of large rives and spawns in fresh- or slightly brackish-water at shallow sites washed by flow of large rivers. Males migrate upriver at 2-3 years, females at 4-5; many individuals reproduce 2-4 seasons. Two migration peaks, one in late April (mostly males), one in early May (mostly females), entering rivers when temperature rises above 10°C. Spawns when temperature is at least 15°C, in May to June. Spawning usually occurs in the upper 3 m. Eggs semi-pelagic and demersal. Spent fish migrate back to the sea; juveniles migrate to sea during first summer, remaining there until they mature. Feeds mainly on zooplankton (copepods and mysids) when at sea (Ref. 59043). Depending on the subspecies (10 subspecies known), some are semi-anadromous and spawn in fresh or slightly saline waters, mainly in the lower reaches, whereas others are practically marine and spawn in brackish or even fully saline oceanic waters. One of the most warm-loving Alosa of the Caspian. Only A. a. caspia of the Caspian Sea is of commercial importance (Ref. 188).
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.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: highly commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01320 (0.00811 - 0.02149), b=2.98 (2.84 - 3.12), based on LWR estimates for species & Genus-BS (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.5 ±0.46 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (tmax=7).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate vulnerability (39 of 100) .