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Synonyms
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  • Harengula forsteri  Valenciennes, 1847:299 (S. Tiago, Cape Verde Islands - probably on Bowdich).
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  • Meletta senegalensis  Valenciennes, 1847:418 (Senegal).
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  • Alausa dorsalis  Valenciennes, 1847:418 (Gorée, Senegal).
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  • Alausa platycephalus  Bleeker, 1863:123 (Ghana).
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  • Clupea setosa  Steindachner, 1870:311, pl. 6 Liberia, Gabon).
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  • Ethmalosa dorsalis  Longhurst, 1971:353, 356 (West Africa, synopsis, biol., fishery).
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  • Ethmalosa fimbriata  Fowler, 1936:175, fig. 70 (Gambia, Congo River mouth); Whitehead, 1967:85 (types etc. of forsteri, senegalensis dorsalis); Idem, 1970:17 (types of setosa); CLOFFA, 1984:42 (all refs in freshwater); CLOFETA, in press (all marine and freshwater refs); Whitehead & Bauchot, in press (types etc. of forsteri, senegalensis, dorsalis).
    FAO Names
    En - Bonga shad, Fr - Ethmalose d'Afrique, Sp - Sábalo africano.
    3Alpha Code: BOA     Taxonomic Code: 1210503002
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Clupea fimbriata  Bowdich (S.) in Bowdich (T.E.), 1825, Excurs.Madeira:234, fig. 44.
    Diagnostic Features
    Body fairly deep, compressed, scutes present along belly.  Upper jaw with distinct median notch, into which tip of lower jaw fits.  Lower gillrakers long, fine and numerous, about 3 times as long as gill filaments, upper gillrakers bent sharply upward, V-shaped.  Pelvic finrays i 7; caudal fin tips long and pointed.  A faint dark spot behind gill cover (sometimes followed by others); dorsal fin tip black; caudal fin deep chrome yellow; golden tints on body.  Resembles Sardinella aurita , S. rouxi and especially S. maderensis, but these are more slender, have a rounded upper jaw (not notched) and upper gillrakers are not bent upward like an elbow. Alosa species do not overlap E. dorsalis in the north of its range (also upper gillrakers not bent, pelvic finrays i 8). 
    Geographical Distribution

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    Eastern central Atlantic (Dakhla, western Sahara, to at least Lobito, Angola - i.e. from 24°N to 12°S; dwarf population in Lake Nokoué, Benin). Records from Cape Verde Islands based on erroneous type locality for E. fimbriata by Bowdich - followed by later authors.
    Habitat and Biology
    Euryhaline,inshore waters,also lagoons and more than 300 km up rivers (e.g. Gambia River, where they move down during flooding, but up again during intrusion of seawater in the dry season).Feeds by filtering phytoplankton, chiefly diatoms (full analysis by Rainbridge, 1963).
    Breeds throughout year in waters of salinities 3.5 to 38°/oo, but with peaks in at least some areas (March, June/ July and October/November at mouth of Gambia River - see Scheffers & Conand, 1976; July to September off Sierra Leone; November to May/June off Ivory Coast and Nigeria, i.e. progressively later to south); spawns in the sea, in estuaries and in rivers. 
    Size
    To 35 cm standard length, usually about 20 to 25 cm.
    Interest to Fisheries
    The largest fisheries are in Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Cameroun, mainly in the dry season. Total catches for 1983 were 88 121 t (Nigeria 31 622 t, Sierra Leone 21 127 t, Ivory Coast 14 618 t). Caught by canoe fishermen using purse seines and encircling nets, also seine nets in lagoons and estuaries.
    Marketed fresh, also smoked and dried (the latter greatly preferred in Cameroun and perhaps elsewhere, but the Senegambian catch is mostly marketed fresh).The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 184 271 t. The countries with the largest catches were Guinea (33 780 t) and Senegal (29 468 t).
    Local Names
    WEST AFRICA : Bonga .
    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 2. Engraulididae.Whitehead, P.J.P. 1985.  FAO Fish. Synop., (125) Vol.7 Pt. 2:305-579.
    Bibliography
    Bainbridge, (1963 - food)
    Scheffers & Conand, (1976 - Senegambian region - biol.)
    Whitehead, (i.e. CLOFETA, in press - all refs. to 1984)
     
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