State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Sardinella aurita Valenciennes, 1847

  • Alosa senegalensis Bennett, 1831
  • Clupea allecia Rafinesque, 1810
  • Clupanodon pseudohispanica (Poey, 1860)
  • Clupea aurovittata Swainson, 1838
  • Clupea caeruleovittata Richardson, 1846
  • Clupea venulosa Steinitz, 1927
Vernacular Name
Round Sardinella, Bang, Black Sprat, False Sardine, Fry-dry, Gilt Sardine, Herring, Pilchard, Round Sardinelle, Round Sardines
Conservation status
No status defined
Value of species
Disjunct populations of S. aurita in the western and eastern Atlantic are in need of further study to determine their taxonomic status (Whitehead 1985). Sardinella brasiliensis is a species which has been described from the southeast Brazilian Bight and is a valid species according to Eschmeyer (Figueiredo et al. 2010). There are reports of sympatric occurrence with S. aurita in the Gulf of Mexico; however, these may be based on misidentifications (Kinsey et al. 1994). We accept the conclusions presented in Tringali and Wilson (1993) that S. brasiliensis is a junior subjective synonym of S. aurita. This species is distributed across the Atlantic Ocean. In the western Atlantic it is known from Cape Cod, Massachusetts south along the U.S., Bermuda, the Bahamas, throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, and along the South American coast to Argentina (Smith 1997). In the eastern Atlantic it is known throughout the Mediterranean Sea south along West Africa to Saldana Bay, South Africa including the Canary Islands. Utilizing mitochondrial DNA control region, a highly variable marker suitable for population-level studies, researchers found that there is virtually no gene flow between the Mediterranean and eastern central Atlantic (Chikhi et al. 1997). Population size and structure of S. aurita is strongly tied to climatic events. Recent hydrological changes in the northern Gulf of Guinea have been implicated in observed increases in catches of S. aurita in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, as well as changes in spatial and seasonal distributions (Binet and Servain 1993). Throughout the Gulf of Mexico, schools follow planktonic food populations, from warm coastal pelagic waters to inshore, making them fairly ubiquitous. Mediterranean: This species was commercially valued in the Mediterranean until the 1970's, after which, demand declined (A. Di Natale pers. comm. 2007). A Mediterranean stock assessment conducted by GSA3 (in 2003) assessed its population as stable (O. Kada pers comm. 2007). It is harvested at low levels in Northern Europe and in the Mediterranean Sea, as the large majority of harvests (>85%) originate from the Eastern Central Atlantic fishing zone, in waters regulated by CECAF. This pelagic species schools in subtropical coastal waters from inshore to the shelf edge. It prefers clear saline water with a minimum temperature of 24°C. It approaches the coast and shoals near the surface during periods of upwelling, but retreats below the thermocline in the hot season, to depths of 200 to 350 m off West Africa. It diurnally migrates, often rising to surface at night and dispersing. It mainly feeds on zooplankton, especially copepods. Juveniles take phytoplankton (Bianchi et al. 1993). It perhaps breeds throughout the year (from June to September for the Mediterranean Sea, the season starts earlier in the east areas), but with distinct peaks. In some areas there are two main spawning periods. The spawning period off Venezuela extends from November to June; perhaps mid-June to end of September off North America. For the Gulf of Mexico, conflicting results suggest that spawning occurs either year-round with less spawning during May to September (Houde et al. 1979), or with peak spawning during April to September (Sutter et al. 1992). The breeding pattern is extremely complex, with two principal spawning periods in some areas (linked with upwelling regimes off West Africa). Juveniles tend to stay in nursery areas, but upon maturity they rejoin adult stocks offshore. It has a possible inshore/offshore migration off Florida and off Venezuela, adults live on the shelf and migrate along the shelf. Growth is rapid, with fish reaching about 15 cm during their first year. Maturity occurs during year 2 and longevity is to about 6 years. Spanish sardine off Florida have short life spans (4 years) and can reach a fork length of 7.5 inches. Growth is sexually dimorphic; females have higher growth rates and larger maximum lengths than males (Sutter et al. 1992). Maximum ages of 3-4 years and fork lengths of 7.5-7.9 inches for females and 6.7-7.5 inches for males have been commonly observed. Minimum length at sexual maturity is approximately 13 cm FL; it is approximately 4.3 inches in Florida (corresponding to one-year-old fish) (FWRI 2010). Batch fecundity is 21,240 to 146,729 (Munroe 2002). Using equation 5 of section 4.4 of the IUCN Red List User Guidelines (2008), generation length was estimated to be 4 years.
Book reference
  • Соколов Н.Ю. Каталог колекції круглоротих і риб Державного природознавчого музею НАН України // Наукові записки Державного природознавчого музею. – Львів, 2004. – Т.19. – С. 15-28.
    View source

Taxonomic branch