Yellow Anchovy

Yellow Anchovy, Anchoa scofieldi

The Yellow Anchovy, Anchoa scofieldi, whose common Spanish name is anchoa amarilla, is a species in the 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 Yellow Anchovies are characterized by a moderately elongated, strongly-compressed body with a short snout featuring a pointed tip that is smaller than the diameter of the eyes. A positive identification is only possible by counting the gill rakers (12–14). Their anal fin base is of medium length and originates in the middle of their dorsal fin. Their dorsal fin originates at mid-body. They have short pectoral fins. A key identification characteristic is the broad silver stripe along the flank that is approximately the width of the diameter of the eyes.

The Yellow Anchovies are found over sand bottoms at depths up to 30 feet and reach a maximum length of 8 cm (3.1 inches).  The Yellow Anchovies are poorly studied and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Yellow Anchovy have a limited distribution being found only along on the coast of the mainland from Mazatlán south to Guatemala. The fish photographed below, collected around the tip of Baja, documents a significant range extension for this species.

The Yellow Anchovy can be confused with the Bignose Anchovy, Anchoa nasus (long snout, anal fin originating under the end of the dorsal fin, 21–28 gill rakers) and the Short Anchovy, Anchoa curta (21–26 gill rakers, silver stripe measuring one-half of the eye diameter).

Yellow Anchovy, Anchoa scofieldi. Fish provided by the commercial bait salesmen of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, February 2007. Length: 6.5 cm (2.5 inches). Fish identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.