European Anchovy, Engraulis encrasicolus

The European Anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) is a forage fish somewhat related to the herring. Anchovies are classed in the family Engraulidae.

It is easily distinguishable by its deeply cleft mouth, the angle of the gape being behind the eyes. The snout is pointed and it extends beyond the lower jaw. The fish looks much like a sprat in having a forked tail and a single dorsal fin, but the body is slender and round.

The maximum length of this fish is 8 ½ inches long.

These anchovies are abundant within the Mediterranean and formerly also the Black and Azov seas. They are regularly caught on the coasts of Abkhazia, Croatia, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Italy, Greece, Romania, Spain, Russia, Turkey, and the Ukraine. The range of the species also extends along the Atlantic coasts of Europe to the south of Norway. During the winter, it is common off of Devon and Cornwall, but has not previously been caught in such numbers as to be one of commercial importance.

Their habitat is mostly marine and pelagic but they are recorded up to 400 meters deep off of West Africa and descending during the winter 100 to 150 meters deep within the Mediterranean.

Image Caption: Engraulis encrasicolus. Credit: Gervais et Boulart/Wikipedia