Engraulis mordax, Californian anchovy : fisheries, bait

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Engraulis mordax Girard 1854

Californian anchovy
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Native range | All suitable habitat | Point map | Year 2100
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Engraulis mordax   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Engraulis mordax (Californian anchovy)
Engraulis mordax
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Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopteri (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: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; pelagic-neritic; depth range 0 - 310 m (Ref. 96339), usually ? - 219 m (Ref. 54433).   Subtropical; 51°N - 21°N, 131°W - 108°W (Ref. 54433)

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.

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.

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. 123251)

  Least Concern (LC) ; Date assessed: 30 April 2008

CITES (Ref. 123416)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

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

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Common names
Spawning aggregation
Egg development
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


Special reports

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Internet sources

Alien/Invasive Species database | Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | DiscoverLife | ECOTOX | Faunafri | Fishipedia | Fishtrace | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GloBI | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | Public aquariums | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | Socotra Atlas | Tree of Life | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoobank | Zoological Record

Estimates based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 7.6 - 14.9, mean 9 °C (based on 55 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5020   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00550 (0.00348 - 0.00867), b=3.08 (2.94 - 3.22), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic level (Ref. 69278):  3.1   ±0.28 se; based on food items.
Generation time: 2.5 (2.3 - 3.2) years. Estimated as median ln(3)/K based on 30 growth studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179):  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).
Prior r = 0.50, 95% CL = 0.33 - 0.75, Based on 2 stock assessments.
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low to moderate vulnerability (30 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.