Deepbody Anchovy

Deepbody Anchovy, Anchoa compressa

The Deepbody Anchovy, Anchoa compressa, whose common Spanish name is anchoa alta, is a member of the Anchovy or Engraulidae Family, known collectively as anchoas 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 Deepbody Anchovies have moderately deep and elongated bodies with a depth that is 24 to 26% of standard length. They are transparent and silvery overall with a bright silver stripe along their flank that is as wide as their eye diameter. Their head has a pointed snout with a blunt tip that is short and about one-half to three-fourths the eye diameter and overhangs the lower jaw. Their eyes are disproportionately large. Their anal fin originates just before the center of the dorsal fin base and has 27 to 34 rays; their dorsal fin originates mid-body and has 12 to 14 rays; and their pectoral fins are long reaching the pelvic fin base. They have 21 to 24 gill rakers.

The Deepbody Anchovies are a pelagic schooling species found in coastal waters, including brackish waters of bays and inlets. They are found in the first 60 feet of the water column and reach a maximum length of 16.5 cm (6.5 inches). They are filter feeders and consume plankton. They reproduce via oviparity with spherical eggs that are fertilized externally. The eggs and then the larvae become planktonic. They have a lifespan of up to six years.

In Mexican waters the Deepbody Anchovies have a limited distribution being found from Todos Santos northwards along the central and northwest coasts of the Baja.

The Deepbody Anchovy can be easily confused with the Bright Anchovy, Anchoa lucida (body depth 21 to 23%; caudal fin with black tips; silver stripe width equal to one half the eye diameter) and the Northern Gulf Anchovy, Anchoa mundeoloides (limited to the extreme northern portion of the Sea of Cortez; narrow silver stripe with width equal to eye pupil).

The Deepbody Anchovies are fairly common and used primarily as bait fish being caught primarily near shore with cast nets. Efforts to introduce this species to Hawaiian waters in 1932 failed.

Deepbody Anchovy, Anchoa compressa. Fish caught with a cast net off the pier Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, May 2017. Length: 14.0 cm (5.5 inches).  Catch courtesy of Jimmy Camacho, Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos.

Deepbody Anchovy, Anchoa compressa. Fish caught with a cast net off the pier Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, May 2017. Length: 15.1 cm (5.9 inches).  Catch courtesy of Jimmy Camacho, Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos.