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Species: Anchoa spinifer, Spicule Anchovy

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gill branch under gill cover short, not onto gill cover
top jaw reaches edge gill cover
lower rear edge operculum - triangular projection
A 34-40, origin under center D

Anchoa spinifer (Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1848)

Spicule Anchovy

Snout prominent, conical, projecting, pointed; rear of the mouth extends well behind the eye; lower jaw suspended below head; upper jaw long, reaching to edge of gill cover, its rear tip pointed; membrane between gill covers not expanded at rear; no large canine teeth; 12-19 lower gill rakers; top limb 3rd gill arch with 6-7 rakers; patch of gill filaments under gill cover short, not extending onto gill cover; a small triangular projection on lower margin of gill cover (on suboperculum); pectoral fin reaching beyond pelvic fin origin; dorsal rays 15; anal fin with long base, rays 34-40, origin ~under center of dorsal fin.

Bluish on back, silvery below; small specimens with silver midlateral stripe that disappears with age; caudal fin yellow.

Size: to 26 cm.

Habitat: coastal pelagic; estuaries, lagoons, occasionally in freshwater.

Depth: 0-55 m.

The only anchovy known from both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the Americas; Honduras south to Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • New world (East Pacific + West Atlantic)
  • Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America)
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • 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
  • 26
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 55