Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Clupeiformes
(Herrings) > Clupeidae
(Herrings, shads, sardines, menhadens)
Etymology: Sardinops: Latin and Greek, sarda = sardine; name related to the island of Sardinia + Greek, ops = appearance (Ref. 45335); sagax: From the latin word 'sagax' which means of quick perception, acute, or alert (Ref. 6885).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; pelagic-neritic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 200 m (Ref. 188). Subtropical; 9°C - 21°C (Ref. 6390); 61°N - 47°S, 145°W - 180°E (Ref. 36641)
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 9.0  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 39.5 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9291); common length : 20.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 188); max. published weight: 486 g (Ref. 6885); max. reported age: 25 years (Ref. 188)
soft rays: 12 - 23;
Vertebrae: 48 - 54. Body cylindrical and elongate; ventral part of operculum with clear cut bony striae radiating downwards; belly rounded with ventral scutes; back blue green; flanks white, with 1 to 3 series of dark spots along the middle (Ref. 55763). The radiating bony striae on the operculum distinguish this species from all other clupeids in the area. The radiating bony striae on the operculum distinguish this fish from all other clupeids in the area. In New Zealand the species appears to grow larger (21.3 cm standard length; cf. 19.7 cm), has slightly larger eggs and a higher mean number of vertebrae (50.52; cf. 49 to 50.08 in various samples) (Ref. 859).
Indo-Pacific: southern Africa to the eastern Pacific (Ref. 27267). Three lineages were confirmed through cluster and parsimony analyses of haplotypic divergences: southern Africa (ocellatus) and Australia (neopilchardus); Chile (sagax) and California (caeruleus); and, Japan (melanostictus) (Ref. 36641).
Neritic (Ref. 11230). A coastal species that forms large schools (Ref. 188). Occur at temperatures ranging from 16° to 23°C in summer and from 10° to 18°C in winter. Feed mainly on planktonic crustaceans. Young fish feed on zooplankton such as copepod and adults on phytoplankton (Ref. 39882). Oviparous, with pelagic eggs, and pelagic larvae (Ref. 265). Possibly can live up to 25 years (Ref. 265). In the California region, pilchards make northward migrations early in summer and travel back south again in autumn. With each year of life, the migration becomes farther (Ref. 6885). Marketed fresh, frozen or canned. Utilized mainly for fish meal; but also eaten fried and broiled (Ref. 9988). Main source of landing: NE Pacific: Mexico (Ref. 4931).
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; bait: usually
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 1.0000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00829 (-0.02022 - 0.03680), b=3.08 (3.06 - 3.09), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 2.4 ±0.1 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.45; tm=2; tmax=13-25; Fec=10,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (33 of 100) .