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Synonyms
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  • Clupea menhaden  Mitchill, 1814:21 (presumed New York)
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  • Clupea carolinensis  Gray, 1854:140 (South Carolina,- on Ms name and description by Gronovius)
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  • Clupea carolinensis  Hildebrand, 1948:7, fig (key, deser., biol., etc.)
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  • Clupea carolinensis  FWNA, 1964:346, figs 86, B7, also 85 (scale), 88 (eggs and larvae), 89 (young) (key, deser., biol., eta.)
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  • Clupea carolinensis  Liem & Scott, 1966:93, fig. (Canada, infrequent)
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  • Clupea carolinensis  Reintjes, 1969:1, pi. (Photo), fig. 1 (egg to juvenile) (synopsis of biol., fishery )
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  • Clupea carolinensis  Dahlberg, 1970:99, fig. 1 (photo) (key, deser., refs)
    FAO Names
    En - Atlantic menhaden, Fr - Menhaden tyran, Sp - Lacha tirana.
    3Alpha Code: MHA     Taxonomic Code: 1210502403
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Clupea tyrannus  Latrobe, 1802. Trans.Am.Phil.Soc., 5:77. pl.1 (Chesapeake Bay; no descr., dorsal fin missing).
    Diagnostic Features
    Body deep and compressed, scutes apparent along belly.  Upper jaw with distinct median notch, no teeth.  Pelvic fin with rounded hind margin, inner finrays equal or nearly equal to outer finrays when fin folded back.  Pre-dorsal scales modified; scales in lateral series 40 to 58 (usually about 45 to 52), those on back, above base of anal fin and at base of tail much smaller and irregularly placed.  A black spot behind gill opening, followed along flank by a variable number of smaller spots forming up to 6 approximate lines. Easily distinguished from  B. smithiBrevoortia
    Geographical Distribution

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    Atlantic Coasts (Nova Scotia southward to Indian River, Florida).
    Habitat and Biology
    Marine, pelagic, schooling,inshore in summer, but at least some moving into deeper water in winter (but perhaps not in south of range);forms large and very compact schools, both of adults and juveniles (good aerial photo in Reintjes, 1969: fig. 3);north/south migrations (spring and summer versus autumn) occur, as also short-term migrations in and out of bays and inlets depending on tides, season and weather.Feeds by filtering phyto- and zooplankton (diatoms, copepods, euphausids).
    Breeding season apparently limited by high water temperatures (20.5° C monthly mean maximum), spawning probably throughout year: spring spawners (April/May) in Cape Cod and Long Island waters, autumn spawners (October/November) from Long Island to North Carolina (plus some spawning June to August), probably winter spawners off Florida (December to March); nursery areas in estuaries. 
    Size
    To about 38 cm standard length (reported to 50 cm total length), usually about 18 cm and 28 cm fork length in fisheries of northern and southern parts respectively.
    Interest to Fisheries
    The most important of the Atlantic coast menhadens, with a total catch in 1995 of 365 736 t, mostly taken in area 21. Since 1950, the catches have been oscillating between a maximum of 586 373 t, reached in 1956, and a minimum of 150 168 t in 1969. Commercially caught by purse seines, but small numbers taken by other gear (pound nets, gillnet, etc.); the schools are often located from the air (see Reintjes, 1969, for good summary of fishing methods). The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 208 800 t. The countries with the largest catches were USA (208 000 t).
    Fishes principally used for production of oil and for fertilizer and fishmeal.
    Local Names
    USA : Bugfish ,  Bunker ,  Fatback .
    Menhaden : Mossbunker .
    Source of Information
    FAO Species catalogue Vol. 7. Clupeoid fishes of the world. (Suborder CLUPEOIDEI) An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the herrings, sardines, pilchards, sprats, anchovies and wolf-herrings. Part 1. Chirocentridae, Clupeidae and Pristigasteridae.Whitehead, P.J.P. 1985.  FAO Fish. Synop., (125) Vol.7 Pt. 1:303 p.
    Bibliography
    Hybrids with B. smithi described by Dahlberg (1970).
    Extensive (see Reintjes, 1964 ), but well summarized by Hildebrand (i.e. FWNA, 1964 ) and Reintjes, 1969.
     
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