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Engraulis mordax  Girard, 1854

Californian anchovy
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Engraulis mordax   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Engraulis mordax (Californian anchovy)
Engraulis mordax
Picture by FAO

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

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Clupeiformes (Herrings) > Engraulidae (Anchovies) > Engraulinae
Etymology: Engraulis: Greek, eggraulis, -eos = anchovy (Ref. 45335);  mordax: Genus name from the Greek 'engraulis' meaning anchovy; species name from the Latin 'mordax' meaning biting (Ref. 27436).   More on author: Girard.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; pelagic-neritic; depth range 0 - 300 m (Ref. 265), usually ? - 219 m (Ref. 54433).   Subtropical; 51°N - 21°N, 131°W - 108°W (Ref. 54433)

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 9.6  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 24.8 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 27436); common length : 15.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9988); max. published weight: 68.00 g (Ref. 56527); max. reported age: 7 years (Ref. 6884)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 14-19; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 19 - 26; Vertebrae: 43 - 47. Snout quite sharply pointed; maxilla moderate, tip sharply pointed, reaching to or almost to hind border of pre-operculum, projecting well beyond tip of second supra-maxilla; tip of lower jaw below nostril. gill rakers slender, long; absent on hind face of third epibranchial. Anal fin origin under about base of last dorsal fin ray. A silver stripe along flank, disappearing with age.

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

Northeast Pacific: northern Vancouver Island south to Cape San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico. Two subspecies recognized: Engraulis mordax mordax from British Columbia to Baja California and Engraulis mordax nanus in Bays of California.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Usually found in coastal waters within about 30 km from shore, but as far out as 480 km, forming large, tightly packed schools. Enters bays and inlets. Feeds on euphausiids, copepods and decapod larvae, both by random filter-feeding and by 'pecking' at prey. Oviparous, epipelagic batch spawner (Ref. 6882). Spawns throughout the year, peaking once (Ref. 6882). Processed into fishmeal, used as bait for tuna, occasionally canned (Ref. 9298).

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

Spawns from British Colombia south to Magdalena Bay, Baja California, but most abundantly between Point Conception and Point San Juanico. There are two major spawning areas: 1) off southern California and northern Baja California and 2) off central and southern Baja California. Oviparous (Ref. 35602). Spawns either in inlets or offshore, throughout the year but mainly in winter and early spring, depending on hydrological conditions (preferably at 10 to 23.3° C in upper water layers and around 22.00 hours). Spawning occurs at night between 2000 and 0400 hour (Ref. 6882).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Whitehead, P.J.P., G.J. Nelson and T. Wongratana, 1988. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 7. Clupeoid fishes of the world (Suborder Clupeoidei). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the herrings, sardines, pilchards, sprats, shads, anchovies and wolf-herrings. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(7/2):305-579. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 189)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; bait: usually
FAO(fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Internet sources

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 | Public aquariums | PubMed | Scirus | SeaLifeBase | Tree of Life | uBio | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoobank | Zoological Record

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5020   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00550 (0.00336 - 0.00899), b=3.08 (2.94 - 3.22), based on LWR estimates for species & Subfamily-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.0   ±0.3 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (rm=0.36; K=0.2-0.6; tm=1-4; tmax=7; Fec=4000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low to moderate vulnerability (30 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.