Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Harengula clupeola, False Pilchard, False Herring, False Pilchard Sardine

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

dark spot BEHIND gill cover
D no black tip
gill rakers 30-32
tongue: width of 2 tooth plates = 20-33% combined length
pectoral 19-22% SL
pelvic inserts nearer pectoral base than to A

Harengula clupeola (Cuvier, 1829)

False Pilchard, False Herring, False Pilchard Sardine

Body fusiform, moderately compressed, depth usually <32% of SL; upper and lower body profiles both convex; eye large; mouth at front, lower jaw a little projecting; no notch at center front of top jaws; top jaw with 3 toothed bones; tooth plate on tongue and tooth plate behind it broad (width = 20-33% of their combined length); lower gill rakers fine, 28-34 (usually 30-32); operculum smooth without bony striae; rear margin of gill opening with two fleshy lobes; dorsal fin slightly before center of body, no elongate filament; anal fin base short (15-19 rays), origin well behind dorsal fin; pectoral fin 19-22% of SL; 7 branched pelvic fin rays, fin inserts closer to insertion of pectoral fin base than to origin of anal fin; a forked tail fin; row of 29-32 keeled bone scales form a keel along belly; scales strong, not easily lost.

Irridescent blue-green on back, with faint dark longitudinal lines; silvery on sides; a faint dark black spot behind top corner of operculum; dorsal fin clear, but tail fin tips dusky.

Size: grows to 21 cm.

Habitat: coastal pelagic; estuaries, lagoons; marine and brackish.

Depth: 0-10 m?

The Gulf of Mexico to Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 21
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 10