The EGGS Table

Fish eggs display an astonishing variety of colors, shapes, appendages, sizes and places of development. The EGGS table tries to standardize such information in order to assist in fish egg identification and in comparative studies.


The EGGS table has fields for the Environmental parameters that are usually associated with the occurrence of fish eggs, such as Temperature, Depth range, Salinity, pH and Oxygen content of the water. A Remarks field accommodates any additional environmental information.

The Place of development is given as a choice field with the options: buoyant (pelagic); on the bottom (demersal); fixed on plant or stone; in sand or gravel; in open nest; in covered nest (i.e., burrow or tunnel); in bubble nest; in mouth (mouthbrooders); attached to parental body; in brood pouch; in female (live-bearers); outside the water; in another animal (i.e., bivalve); other.

Fish eggs display an astonishing variety of colors, shapes and appendages

The Shape of egg can be classified as: spherical; ovoid; elongated; other.

The Attributes of the egg can be: smooth; sculptured; with filaments; with tendrils; with stalk; in jelly matrix; other. In addition, the eggs can be sticky or not sticky.

The Color of eggs can be: transparent; white; yellow, orange, amber; brown, black, gray; green; other.

The Color of oil globule(s) can be: yellow; orange/red; green; other.

The Number of oil globules and their diameter as well as the Egg diameter can be given as a range.

The Perivitelline width and the Chorion thickness are two additional identification characters, which can be stated as percent of a Reference diameter.

Additional characters that may be helpful for identification can be stated in a text field.


To date the EGGS table covers more than 400 species, mostly from the North Atlantic or Mediterranean. Information has been drawn from more than 600 references such as Russell (1976), Fahay (1983) and Moser et al. (1984). No serious checking has been done so far and thus the table is likely to contain errors.

How to get there

You get to the EGGS table by clicking on the Biology button in the SPECIES window and the Reproduction button in the BIOLOGY window and the Eggs button in the next window.


On the Internet, you can access the EGGS table by clicking on the respective link in ‘More information’ section of the ‘Species Summary’ page, either in FishBase or in LarvalBase ( You can create a list of species with available data by selecting the Eggs radio button in the ‘Information by Topic’ section of either FishBase or LarvalBase.


Fahay, M. 1983. Guide to the stages of marine fishes occurring in the Western North Atlantic, Cape Hatteras to the Southern Scotian shelf. J. Northwest Atlantic Fish. Sci. 4, 423 p.

Moser, H.G., W.J. Richards, D.M. Cohen, M.P. Fahay, A.W. Kendall, and S.L. Richardson, Editors. 1984. Ontogeny and systematics of fishes. Am. Soc. Ichthyol. Herpetol. Spec. Publ. 1, 760 p.

Russell, F.S. 1976. The eggs and planktonic stages of British marine fishes. Academic Press, London. 524 p.

Rainer Froese