Diagnosis: Body somewhat compressed but variable, from slender to moderately deep, its depth 25-40% of standard length; total number of scutes 29-33; lower gillrakers 41-68, at 4 to 15 cm standard length, increasing a little with size of fish; vertical striae on scales not meeting at centre, hind part of scale with a few perforations and somewhat produced posteriorly; a dark spot at dorsal fin origin (Ref. 188). It closely resembles Sardinella fimbriata and S. dayi, which have more lower gill rakers, 54-82 in S. fimbriata and 88-126 in S. dayi; and can be confused with S. gibbosa and S. sindensis, which have more scutes, 31-34; other similar species have more scutes or more gillrakers or overlapping scale striae or no spot at dorsal fin origin or caudal tips black, or a combination of some of these features (Ref. 122366).
Description: Body somewhat compressed but variable, from slender to moderately deep, its depth 25-40% of standard length; belly with sharp keel of scutes (Ref. 188, 3259). Lower gillrakers 41-68 (Ref. 188, 3259). More than 8 fronto-parietal striae (Ref. 2871, 9391). Dorsal fin with 4 unbranched and 14-16 branched rays; anal fin with 3 unbranched and 16-20 branched rays; pectoral fin with 1 unbranched and 13-16 branched rays; pelvic fin with 1 unbranched and 7 branched rays (Ref. 3259). Lateral line scales 40-45; predorsal scales paired and overlapping (Ref. 2871, 3259). Total number of scutes 29-33; with 17-19 pre-pelvic scutes and 11-15 post-pelvic scutes (Ref. 188, 3259).
Colouration: Back blue-green; flanks silver; hind margin of caudal fin dusky (Ref. 3259). A small dark spot at dorsal fin origin (Ref. 188, 2871, 9391).