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Sardina pilchardus  (Walbaum, 1792)

European pilchard
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Image of Sardina pilchardus (European pilchard)
Sardina pilchardus
Picture by De Sanctis, A.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Clupeiformes (Herrings) > Clupeidae (Herrings, shads, sardines, menhadens) > Alosinae
Etymology: Sardina: Latin and Greek, sarda = sardine; name related to the island of Sardinia (Ref. 45335).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; pelagic-neritic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 10 - 100 m (Ref. 5286), usually 25 - 100 m (Ref. 54866).   Subtropical, preferred 16°C (Ref. 107945); 68°N - 14°N, 32°W - 43°E (Ref. 54866)

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Northeast Atlantic: Iceland (rare) and North Sea, southward to Bay de Gorée, Senegal. Mediterranean (common in the western part and in Adriatic Sea, rare in the eastern part), Sea of Marmara and Black Sea.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 14.8  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 27.5 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 74552); common length : 20.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 188); max. reported age: 15 years (Ref. 35388)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 13-21; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 12 - 23. Body sub-cylindrical, belly rather rounded (but more compressed in juveniles). Hind margin of gill opening smoothly rounded (without fleshy outgrowths) ; 3 to 5 distinct body striae radiating downward on lower part of operculum; lower gill rakers not becoming shorter at angle of first gill arch, the upper series not overlapping the lower. Last 2 anal fin rays enlarged.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Littoral species (Ref. 6808). Form schools, usually at depths of 25 to 55 or even 100 m by day, rising to 10 to 35 m at night. Feed mainly on planktonic crustaceans, also on larger organisms. Spawn in batches (Ref. 51846), in the open sea or near the coast, producing 50,000-60,000 eggs with a mean diameter of 1.5 mm (Ref. 35388). Marketed fresh, frozen or canned. Also utilized dried or salted and smoked; can be pan-fried, broiled and microwaved (Ref. 9988).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Breeds at 20 to 25 m, near the shore or as much as 100 km out to sea.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Whitehead, P.J.P., 1985. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 7. Clupeoid fishes of the world (suborder Clupeioidei). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the herrings, sardines, pilchards, sprats, shads, anchovies and wolf-herrings. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(7/1):1-303. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 188)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: highly commercial
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