Engraulis mordax 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Clupeiformes Engraulidae

Scientific Name: Engraulis mordax Girard, 1854
Common Name(s):
English California Anchovy, Anchovy, Bay anchovy, Large z'anchois, Northern anchovy, North Pacific anchovy, Pinhead, Rainbow smelt
French Anchois de California, Anchois de Californie, Anchois du nord, Anchois du Pacifique, Anchois du Pacifique nord
Spanish Anchoa de California, Anchoa del Pacifico, Anchoveta, Anchoveta de California, Anchoveta norteña
Anchovia maui (Fowler & Bean, 1923)
Anchoviella mauii Fowler & Bean, 1923
Engraulis mordax ssp. mordax Girard, 1854
Engraulis nanus Girard, 1858
Engraulus mordax Girard, 1854
Taxonomic Notes: Two subspecies recognized: Engraulis mordax mordax from British Columbia to Baja California, and Engraulis mordax nanus in Bays of California (FAO-FIGIS, 2001). Other authors consider E. m. nanus to be a synonym of E. mordax.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-04-30
Assessor(s): Iwamoto, T., Eschmeyer, W. & Alvarado, J.
Reviewer(s): Carpenter, K., Polidoro, B. & Livingstone, S. (Global Marine Species Assessment Team)
This species has a wide distribution and occurs in Marine Protected Areas. Although this species has been overfished in the past, the large distribution should mitigate this threat. Therefore this species is listed as Least Concern. This species should be monitored in the future to ensure that the fisheries do not cause declines in the population.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is distributed in temperate waters from British Colombia to the tip of Baja California, and can be found throughout most of the western and the central eastern Gulf of California.
Countries occurrence:
Canada; Mexico; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northeast
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):310
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is a very common species within its range. This species has been overfished, and harvest was restricted by law solely as a baitfish in California from 1949 to 1955, but it has since been used in British Colombia in the 1940s, when it was very abundant, for canning or processing into fishmeal or oil. There have been wide fluctuations in populations, partly in relation to hydrology, but complicated by the relation with the also fluctuating populations of the California pilchard (Sardinops caeruleus). The recorded catch in 1982 was 294,859 t (247,997 t by Mexico). It was fished with lampara nets, but after about 1946 mainly by purse seines. The total catch reported for this species to the FAO for 1999 was 11,137 t. The countries with the largest harvests were Mexico (5,814 t) and USA (5,323 t) (FAO-FIGIS 2001).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a pelagic species that is usually found in coastal waters within about 30 km from shore, but as far out as 480 km. It is found as deep as 310 m. It forms large, tightly packed schools, entering bays and inlets. This species feeds on euphausiids, copepods, and decapod larvae, both by random filter-feeding and by pecking at prey (Chiappa-Carrara and Gallardo-Cabello 1993).

This is an oviparous, epipelagic batch spawner. It spawns throughout the year, peaking once at night between 2000 and 0400 hours. The spawning region corresponds from British Colombia south to Magdalena Bay, Baja California, but most abundantly between Point Conception and Point San Juanico. There are two major spawning areas: 1) southern California and northern Baja California and 2) central and southern Baja California. This species is oviparous, spawning either in inlets or offshore throughout the year, but mainly in the winter and early spring. It depends on hydrological conditions, preferably at in upper water layers and around 22.00 hours (Hunter and Goldberg 1980, Watson and Sandknop 1996).
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Used as bait fish.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has been overfished. The countries with the largest harvests were Mexico (5,814 t) and USA (5,323 t) (FAO-FIGIS 2001).

This species is important in commercial fisheries, and the harvesting sites for fisheries are mainly in Mexico in FAO fishing area 77 - from 10,000 to 50,000 t. Seines are the main method used to harvest this species. It is then processed into fishmeal, used as bait for tuna and other fishes, and occasionally canned (Whitehead and Rodríguez-Sánchez 1995).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known conservation measures for this species. However, this species' distribution includes a number of Marine Protected Areas in the tropical eastern Pacific region. Monitoring of harvest levels and the population trend are recommended for this species.

Citation: Iwamoto, T., Eschmeyer, W. & Alvarado, J. 2010. Engraulis mordax. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T183856A8189272. . Downloaded on 21 August 2018.
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