The Anchovy Family – Engraulidae
The fish of the Anchovy or Engraulidae Family are known in Mexico’s fishing areas as anchoas or sardinas. Globally there are one hundred forty-one known family members that have been placed in seventeen genera of which fourteen species in five genera are found in Mexican waters of the Atlantic and seventeen species from four genera live in Mexican waters of the Pacific. They are small herring-like fish that are easily distinguishable from herrings by having larger mouths extending well behind the eyes and found on the lower side of the head with an overhanging projecting upper jaw lacking canine teeth. They have one short dorsal fin near the mid-body, pectoral fins that are low on the body, and pelvic fins that are well behind their pectoral fins and originate before or under their dorsal fin base. Engraulidae are silvery in color and have a silver stripe along their flanks. They are normally less than 15 cm (6 inches) in length and virtually weightless.
The Anchovies are pelagic fish that form huge, tight-knit schools within twenty miles of the coast in all oceanic waters between latitudes of 60 degrees north and 50 degrees south. They are the most abundant of the schooling pelagic fish and an important food source for predatory fish, birds, and mammals. They feed on planktonic organisms and crustaceans. Global catches of anchovies by net are in excess of 10,000,000 tons per annum and are used fresh, frozen or canned for human and pet food consumption.
Members of the Anchovy Family, all from the Pacific, represented in the photo identification section of this website include:
Anchoveta, Cetengraulis mysticetus
Bay Anchovy, Anchoa mitchilli
Bignose Anchovy, Anchoa nasus
Bigscale Anchovy, Anchovia macrolepidota
Bright Anchovy, Anchoa lucida
Deepbody Anchovy, Anchoa compressa
Northern Anchovy, Engraulis mordax
Silverstripe Anchovy, Anchoa argentivittata
Yellow Anchovy, Anchoa scofieldi