Osmerus eperlanus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Osmeriformes Osmeridae

Scientific Name: Osmerus eperlanus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Smelt
Taxonomic Notes: Available data do not exclude the possibility of two species possibly confused under the name O. eperlanus: O. eperlanus, usually with 33-38 gill rakers, are primarily lacustrine, from coastal areas of White, Barents and Baltic Seas, and O. schonfoldi, usually with 27-32 gill rakers, are primarily anadromous, from Atlantic, southern Baltic and North Sea. The two species would be sympatric in parts of Poland, Denmark and southern Baltic.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-03-05
Assessor(s): Freyhof, J.
Reviewer(s): Smith, K. & Kottelat, M.
Contributor(s): Kottelat, M.
A widespread distribution with no known major widespread threats. However, locally threatened by pollution and barriers to migration.

European Union 27 = LC. Same rationale as above.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Data Deficient (DD)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Coastal waters of White, Barents, Baltic and North Seas, Great Britain, western Ireland, Atlantic Ocean southward to Garonne estuary. Landlocked populations in lakes of coastal areas of North, Baltic, White and Barents Seas. North to about 68°N in Scandinavia.
Countries occurrence:
Belarus; Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Guernsey; Ireland; Isle of Man; Jersey; Latvia; Lithuania; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Russian Federation; Sweden; United Kingdom
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Abundant.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Habitat:
Pelagic inhabitant of marine waters, estuaries and large lakes. Spawns in tributaries of lakes or along shallow shores of lakes and rivers, on sand, gravel, stones and plant material, preferably in fast-flowing water.

Anadromous and landlocked populations. Anadromous individuals spawn at two years, landlocked ones often at one year. Anadromous individuals live up to seven years. Landlocked populations and large parts of anadromous populations usually reproduce only once in their life. Spawning migration starts in September-October, when mature fishes aggregate in estuaries to overwinter. Upriver migration starts in March-April when temperatures rise above 4-6°C and during rainy and stormy weather. Spawning migration reaches only the lower part of rivers. Older individuals and males migrate earlier than younger ones and females. Spawns in March-April at 4-12°C. Eggs are sticky and attached to substrate. Large numbers of eggs are washed from substrate and drift, with attached sand above river bottom. Eggs hatch in 20-35 days; larvae drift to estuaries. After spawning, adults migrate to sea, remain in coastal waters close to estuaries. Juveniles prefer fresh or brackish water until they mature. May reach high densities and experience large fluctuations in abundance. Feeds on zooplankton and small fishes, which often are juveniles of its own species.
Systems: Freshwater
Movement patterns: Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is harvested for human consumption.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Water pollution and river impoundments.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No information available.

Citation: Freyhof, J. 2013. Osmerus eperlanus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T15631A4924600. . Downloaded on 25 November 2015.
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