Striped Herring

Striped Herring, Lile stolifera

The Striped Herring, Lile stolifera, whose common Spanish name is sardinita rayada, is a member of the Herring or Clupeidae Family, known collectively as sardinas in Mexico. Globally, there are four species in the genus Lile, all four are found in Mexican waters, one in the Atlantic and three in the Pacific.

The Striped Herrings have moderately deep compressed bodies with a depth that is 27 to 36% of standard length. Their lower body profile is strongly convex. Their mouth is short and slightly oblique. They are olive to bluish dorsally transitioning to silver ventrally. They have a bright silver stripe on their flank. The tip of their dorsal fin and their caudal fin lobes are black. The iris of their eyes is pale and their pupil is black. Their anal fin base is long with 13 to 23 rays. Their dorsal fin has 14 to 18 rays and originates before the pelvic fins. They have 29 to 32 lower gill rakers. Their body is covered with scales and their belly is sharply keeled with scutes.

The Striped Herrings are a pelagic species found in coastal waters at depths up to 50 feet; they frequent bays, lagoons, and estuaries in large schools and can also be found in brackish and fresh waters. They reach a maximum length of 15.0 cm (5.9 inches) and are virtually weightless. They consume plankton, small crustaceans, and fish larvae.

In Mexican waters the Striped Herring are found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception 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 Striped Herring can be confused with the Blackstripe Herring, Lile nigrofasciata (deeper body; broader mid-lateral stripe) and the Graceful Herring, Lile gracilis (clear top caudal fin lobe).

The Striped Herrings are a small fairly common species in some areas. They are caught commercially via nets and processed into fish oil and fishmeal.

Striped Herring (1)Striped Herring, Lile stolifera. Fish caught with a cast net off the pier at Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, April 2016. Length: 9.0 cm (3.5 inches). Catch courtesy of Jimmy Camacho, Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur.

Striped Herring, Lile stolifera.  Fish caught with a cast net off the pier at Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, December 2017. Length: 14.0 cm (5.5 inches). Catch courtesy of Ruben Duran, Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur. Photo and identification courtesy of Brad Murakami, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

Striped Herring, Lile stolifera. Fish caught with a cast net off the pier at Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, May 2017. Length: 10.0 cm (3.9 inches). Catch courtesy of Jimmy Camacho, Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur.