Silverstripe Anchovy

Silverstripe Anchovy, Anchoa argentivittata

The Silverstripe Anchovy, Anchoa argentivittata, whose common Spanish name is anchoa plateada, is a species in the Anchovy or Engraudlidae 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 Silverstripe Anchovies are characterized by an elongated cylindrical body, a long blunt snout, a long upper jaw, and a mouth that reaches the gill openings. They have a short anal fin base, short pectoral fins that do not reach the pelvic fin base, and longer pelvic fins that reach the dorsal fin origin. A key identification characteristic is their anal fin, which originates immediately below their last dorsal fin ray. They are grey-green in color and have a wide silver stripe mid-body that is equal in width to the diameter of the eyes.

The Silverstripe Anchovies are a pelagic species that are found over sand and gravel bottoms at depths up to 30 feet and that reach a maximum length of 12 cm (4.7 inches).  Very little is known about their life styles and behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Silverstripe Anchovies have a very limited distribution being found only within a 75 mile radius of La Paz and along the coast of the mainland from Guaymas to Guatemala. They are absent from the Pacific side of Baja.

The Silverstripe Anchovy can be easily confused with the Gulf Anchovy, Anchoa helleri (anal fin originating under the last rays of the dorsal fin), the Sharpnose Anchovy, Anchoa ischana (anal fin originating behind the end of the dorsal fin, larger girth, broadening silver stripe on the side), and the Slender Anchovy, Anchoa exigua (anal fin originating under the center of the dorsal fin).

The Silverstripe Anchovy are small, seasonal, and of limited interest to most. They are fairly common during winter months in some years in the greater Los Cabos area. They do not survive bait tanks and thus are either used as chum or tail hooked to a 2/0 hook in groups of five or six and sent “down deep.”

Silverstripe Anchovy, Anchoa argentivittata. Fish provided by the commercial bait salesmen of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, February 2012. Length: 12 cm (4.7 inches).

Silverstripe Anchovy, Anchoa argentivittata. Fish provided in a regurgitated format by a California Halibut, Paralichthys californicus, caught in Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja California, December 2015. Catch and photo courtesy of Chris Wheaton, Fullerton, CA.