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Author: Linnaeus , 1758

Alosa alosa Linnaeus , 1758

Diagnosis: body moderately deep, belly with prominent keel of scutes, upper jaw with a distinct median notch. Gillrakers long, thin and numerous, total 85-130 on first arch, longer than gill filaments. Colour: back deep blue, flanks silvery, with a dark spot posterior to gill-opening (sometimes absent). Size: to 70 cm, usually 30-50 cm.

Habitat: marine pelagic, but penetrating far up rivers to spawn; also freshwater lacustrine if A. alosa macedonica in Besikia Lake, Greece, is this species; shoaling, strongly migratory. Food: zooplankton, mainly copepods, decapods, euphausiids, also young fishes. Reproduction: anadromous, entering rivers in spring and spawning at the surface far upstream where the current is swift, the eggs sinking to the bottom; adults return to the sea immediately after.

Distribution: Atlantic coasts, from Cape Blanc to Scandinavia, also western part of Mediterranean.


Complementary iconography. Rollefsen et al., 1960, pl. 4 (col.) | Bini, 1971, 2, fig. p. 51 (col.).

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Hoek, 1888: 315, pl. VI (fig. 6-8) | Ehrenbaum, 1936: 27 | Hoestlandt, 1958: 739.
Otoliths (sagitta). Fryd, 1901: 34 | Jenkins, 1902: 115, pl. III (fig. 14) | Sanz Echeverría, 1922: 161, pl. IV (fig. 4) | Chaine, 1938: 166, pl. XIII.

Alice shad (Alosa alosa)