Bright Anchovy

Bright Anchovy, Anchoa lucida

The Bright Anchovy, Anchoa lucida, whose common Spanish name is anchoa ojitos, is a species in the Anchovy or Engraulidae Family, known collectively as sardinas in Mexico. Globally, there are thirty five species in the genus Anchoa, twenty three of which are found in Mexican waters, nine in the Atlantic and fourteen in the Pacific.

The Bright Anchovies have moderately elongated and somewhat compressed bodies with a body depth of 21 to 23% of standard length. They have a short blunt snout whose length is approximately three-fourths the diameter of the eyes. They are translucent silver with a narrow silver stripe mid-body that is approximately half the diameter of the eyes. Their chin and tail tips are darkened. Their anal fin base is long with 3 spines and 22 to 28 rays, and originates under the center of the dorsal fin. Their dorsal fin originates mid-body; their pectoral fins reach the pelvic fin origin; and their pelvic fins reach the dorsal fin origin. They have 18 to 23 lower gill rakers.

The Bright Anchovies are a pelagic species found in coastal waters at depths up to 30 feet; they frequent bays, lagoons, and estuaries in large schools. They reach a maximum length of 16.0 cm (6.3 inches). They are filter feeders consuming phytoplankton and zooplankton. Reproduction is external with pelagic eggs and larvae.

In Mexican waters the Bright Anchovy is found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from Guerrero Negro northward along the central and northwest coasts of Baja and from the extreme northern portions of the Sea of Cortez.

The Bright Anchovy can be confused with the Deepbody Anchovy, Anchoa compressa (body depth 24 – 26%; wide stripe mid-body with width approximately the diameter of the eyes).

The Bright Anchovies are a small fairly common species in some areas but are of limited interest to most.

Bright Anchovy, Anchoa lucida. Fish caught with a cast net off the pier at Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, April 2016. Length: 7.6 cm (3.0 inches). Catch courtesy of Jimmy Camacho, Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos.