Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Brevoortia tyrannus, Menhaden, Atlantic Menhaden

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

shoulder: black spot then up to 6 lines small spot
pelvic fin: rounded edge, inner rays ~ = outer rays
belly: 30-32 scutes

Brevoortia tyrannus (Latrobe, 1802)

Atlantic Menhaden, Menhaden

Deep bodied, compressed; head, and especially the gill cover, large; mouth large; upper jaw with a distinct central notch into which the tip of the lower jaw fits; adults without jaw teeth; gill rakers long, fine, numerous, those on upper part of gill arch overlapping those on lower arm; dorsal and anal fins short, anal origin under or behind last dorsal ray; pelvics i, 6; its rear margin rounded, oblique, inner rays equal to or nearly equal to outer rays when fin is folded back; a forked tail fin; belly midline fully covered with a keel of scutes (hard, spiny scales), 30-32 scutes; scales rough, large, 45-52 (40-58) in lateral series; scales on upper tail base and base of tail fin much smaller and irregularly spaced; back before dorsal fin with a ridge along the midline formed by a double line of modified scales.

Green blue above, silvery on sides; a black spot just behind upper corner of operculum, with variable numbers of smaller spots forming up to 6 lines behind that.

Reaches 60 cm.

Marine, inshore pelagic to as much as 80 km offshore, also enters brackish and near freshwater.

Depth range: 0-50 m.

Nova Scotia to Florida.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
  • Estuary
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Phytoplankton
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 60
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 50