PORT PHILLIP BAY


Australian Sardine 

Sardinops sagax (Jenyns, 1842)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: 17-20
Anal fin spines/rays: 16-20
Caudal fin rays: 19
Pectoral fin rays: 17-18
Ventral fin spines/rays: 8-9

Interpreting fin count meristics.
Spines are in Roman numerals and soft rays are in Arabic numerals. Spines and rays that are continuous in one fin are separated by a comma. Fin sections are separated by semicolons.

Detailed descriptions of fin count and other mersitics are in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
Mostly small schooling fishes with silvery streamlined bodies, large scales, a single short-based dorsal fin, abdominal pelvic fins and a forked tail. Many species have a well-developed row of scutes along the belly, and some have a row of scutes behind the head.

Family level detail.
Mostly small, compressed silvery fishes with a single short-based dorsal fin on the middle of the back, a forked tail, pectoral fins low on the body and abdominal pelvic fins. They have large weakly attached scales, no lateral line and often have a large mouth and long gill rakers.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Clupeiformes
Family:
Clupeidae
Genus:
Sardinops
Species:
sagax

General Description

Body long, slender; pelvic fins arising below centre of dorsal fin; last two anal-fin rays visibly longer than preceding rays. Upper surface greenish-blue with a row of darks spots, silvery below. To 25 cm.

Biology

Pilchards congregate in large schools and feed by sieving plankton from the water column. They are very important food fishes for many large marine predatory species and are also taken commercially for use as bait. They migrate along the coast from west to east, forming large breeding schools in surface waters from spring to autumn, otherwise they are found in deeper water.

Habitat

Surface waters when breeding, other times in deeper water, in depths of 0-100 m.

Open water

Distribution guide

New Zealand and southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Sardines, pilchards and allies

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

Midwater Surface

Max Size

25 cm

Commercial Species

Yes

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Australian Sardine, Sardinops sagax, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 21 Jul 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6298

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