Tenualosa ilisha  (Hamilton, 1822)

Hilsa shad
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Tenualosa ilisha   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Tenualosa ilisha (Hilsa shad)
Tenualosa ilisha
Picture by Randall, J.E.

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) > Dorosomatinae
Etymology: Tenualosa: Latin, tenuis = thin + 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 ? - 200 m.   Tropical; 34°N - 5°N, 42°E - 97°E (Ref. 188)

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 41.5, range 34 - ? cm
Max length : 60.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 188); common length : 36.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4832); common length :42 cm TL (female); max. published weight: 680.00 g (Ref. 4832); max. published weight: 680.00 g

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 18-21; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 18 - 23. Belly with 30 to 33 scutes. Distinct median notch in upper jaw. Gill rakers fine and numerous, about 100 to 250 on lower part of arch. Fins hyaline. A dark blotch behind gill opening, followed by a series of small spots along flank in juveniles. Color in life, silver shot with gold and purple.

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

Indian Ocean: Persian Gulf eastward to Myanmar, including western and eastern coasts of India. Reported from the Gulf of Tonkin, Viet Nam (Ref. 9706). Reported in Tigris River basin and probably other rivers of southern Iran (Ref. 39702).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Schooling in coastal waters and ascending rivers for as much as 1200 km (usually 50-100 km). Migration though is sometimes restricted by barrages. Hilsa far up the Ganges and other large rivers seem to be permanent river populations. Feeds on plankton, mainly by filtering, but apparently also by grubbing on muddy bottoms. Breeds mainly in rivers during the southwest monsoon (also from January to February to March). Artificial propagation has been partially successful in India (Ref. 4832). Known to be a fast swimmer, covering 71 km in one day (Ref. 12203). Marketed fresh or dried-salted.

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

Breeds mainly in rivers, upstream to about 50 km or even over 1000 km as in the Ganges (younger fishes may breed in the tidal zone of rivers). In some rivers the migration is restricted by barrages; there is some evidence that hilsa far up the Ganges and other large rivers, although migrating upstream to spawn, are permanent river populations that do not descend to the sea. The main breeding season is during the southwest monsoon, with a shorter season from January to February or March.

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: minor commercial; aquaculture: experimental
FAO(fisheries: production; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Internet sources

BHL | Cloffa | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | DiscoverLife | 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 = 0.5312   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00955 (0.00821 - 0.01110), b=3.03 (2.99 - 3.07), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  2.9   ±0.29 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (K=0.5-1.2; Fec=220,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low to moderate vulnerability (31 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   High.