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Northern Anchovy

Engraulis mordax

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The anchovy is one of the better known fish species in the Aquarium collection, mostly due to their popularity as a human food source. They are also an important food for a variety of marine animals, from dolphins to sharks to seabirds. In order to protect themselves, anchovies often form into large swirling schools during the daylight hours and then disperse at nightfall to hunt. Their coloring and shiny scales are used to reflect sunlight and confuse predators. They are also extremely fast swimmers and can quickly dart away at the first sign of danger. This species prefers to breed in the waters off the Oregon and Washington coasts and is widely harvested by local fishermen.

Range and Habitat

Anchovies are common in many of the world’s oceans, but they prefer temperate waters like in the Mediterranean. They are usually missing from very warm or very cold seas.

Conservation Status

Common.