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Author: (Linnaeus, 1758)

Lichia amia (Linnaeus, 1758)

Diagnosis: teeth in both jaws small and pointed, in a broad band anteriorly, tapering posteriorly. Gillrakers (including rudiments) 2-5 upper, 7-11 lower on first gill arch. Dorsal fin VII + I + 19-21; anal fin II + I + 17-21; bases of soft dorsal and anal fins about equal in length; no caudal peduncle grooves. Scales small, oval-shaped to strongly lanceolate on breast and partially embedded. Lateral line very irregular and sinuous, describing a convex curve above and a concave curve behind the pectoral fin; no scutes. Colour: brown dorsally, silvery white below the lateral line; fins pale brown, lobes of dorsal and anal fins black distally. Juveniles (to at least 12 cm fork length) with brownish-black bands on sides. Size: reported to at least 180 cm total length, common to 100 cm.

Habitat: an inshore or estuarine species found in surface waters and to at least 50 m. Food: primarily other fishes; often pursues prey at surface. Reproduction: see family.

Distribution: eastern Atlantic, southern Bay of Biscay southward, including Madeira and Mediterranean (common). Elsewhere, entire East African coast and Indian Ocean northward to Delagoa Bay, Lourenço Marques.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Lo Bianco, 1909: 724 | Padoa, 1956: 559.
Otoliths (sagitta). Shepherd, 1910: 57, fig. 12.

Leerfish (Lichia amia)