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  • Stolephorus opercularis  Jordan & Gilbert, 1882:275 (Punta San Felipe, Gulf of California).
  • Anchovia opercularis  Gilbert & Starks, 1904:42 (Panama Bay).
  • Cetengraulis engymen  Gilbert & Pierson, 1898:2815 (Panama Bay).
  • Cetengraulis mysticetus  Gunther, 1868:383 (Panama); Meek & Hildebrand, 1923:212 (Panama); Jordan & Seale, 1926:416 (Panama); Hildebrand, 1943: 157, fig.72 (Panama, Guayamas, Mexico and Rio Piura, Peru). Idem, 1946:104 (Rio Piura). Howard, 1954:1 et seq. (Populations); Peterson, 1956:172 (Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica - biology); Berdegue, 1958:1 et seq. (Populations); Howard & Landa, 1958:1 et seq. (Panama - biology); Harder, 1958:365 et seq. (Intestine).
  • Cetengraulis mysticetus  Simpson, 1959:447 et seq., figs 1-40, tabs 1-7 (breeding, eggs, larvae illustrated); Bayliff, 1969:1.1 et seq. (complete synopsis of biology); Cobo & Massay, 1969:8 (Mexico, listed); Erdman, 1971:62 (Gulf of Nicoya - decline in numbers); Miller & Lea, 1972:56 (California; to Los Angeles); Eschmeyer, Herald & Hamman, 1983:74 (compiled).
    FAO Names
    En - Pacific anchoveta, Fr - Anchois chuchueco, Sp - Anchoveta chuchueco.
    3Alpha Code: VEP     Taxonomic Code: 1210601503
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Engraulis mysticetus  Günther, 1867, Proc.zool.Soc.Lond., (3):604 (Panama).
    Diagnostic Features
    Body compressed and fairly deep, its depth 3 to 3.5 times in standard length; head large and deep. Snout short and pointed, about 2/3 eye diameter; maxilla moderate, tip blunt, just failing to reach lower jaw articulation;  lower gillrakers fine and numerous, increasing in larger fishes, about 25 at 5 cm standard length, 60 at 12 cm; no gillrakers on posterior face of third epibranchial.  Branchiostegal membrane broad, covering entire isthmus; branchiostegal rays 8, long and slender.  Anal fin moderate, with iii 17 to 24 finrays (usually 20 to 22), its origin under last third of dorsal fin base.  A silver stripe along flank in smaller fishes, disappearing at about 8 to 10 cm standard length. 
    Can be confused with: Similar to Anchovia macrolepidota in general appearance, but distinguished by the broad branchiostegal membrane (if split, can still be found with forceps); this distinguishes it from all other Pacific anchovies (which are usually more slender, have less deep heads, a longer maxilla, fewer gillrakers). Closely resembles the Atlantic C. edentulus, but has a rather larger head, more slendler body, smaller eye and longer cheek. However, the provenance makes separation simple.

    Geographical Distribution

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    Eastern central Pacific (apparently as far north as Los Angeles, but these are perhaps releases from bait tanks of tuna boats; southern Pacific coast of Baja California, Gulf of California south to Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and northern Peru to Bay of Sechura at 5°30'S).
    Habitat and Biology
    Marine, pelagic,inshore (down to 9 m depth)and forming quite large schools which seem to break up and reform rather rapidly; found principally over mud flats, apparently not making long migrations along sandy or rocky areas to other suitable mud flats, although other migrations occur.Juveniles feed principally on diatoms, also silico-flagellates, dinoflagellates and small crustaceans; adults also subsist mainly on diatoms (most stomachs contain mud as well as benthic diatoms).
    Spawning, at least in the Gulf of Panama, occurs over shallow mud flats in October to January, with a peak in November and December (slightly earlier to the north and to the south as well); eggs oval (Simpson, 1959: figs 35, 36), spawned at 01.00 to 04.30 hours, hatching about 20 hours later. 
    To 17 cm standard length, usually about 14 or 15 cm.
    Interest to Fisheries
    Catches of Pacific anchoveta are reported either by area 77 (106 743 t in 1995) and area 87 (41 484 t). As shown in the chart, since 1974 total catches have had repeated fluctuations with peaks every 2-4 years. Most abundant in Gulf of Panama, other important fishing areas in Alemjas Bay (Pacific coast of Baja California), Guayamas Bay and Ahome Point (Gulf of California), and Gulf of Guayaquil (Ecuador, Peru). The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 70 358 t. The countries with the largest catches were Panama (27 356 t) and Ecuador (27 221 t).
    A small amount eaten fresh or canned but used chiefly as fishmeal and as a tuna baitfish;caught with cast nets for local consumption, but with lampara nets for the bait fishery and purse seines for the reduction fishery, mainly within 8 km of the shore.
    Local Names
    COLOMBIA : Cardume ,  Anchoveta .
    COSTA RICA : Anchoveta .
    ECUADOR : Anchoveta ,  Chuhueco ,  Esmeraldas ,  Ojito .
    MEXICO : Anchoveta (north),  Sardin ,  Sardina (south).
    PANAMA : Anchoveta ,  Cardume ,  Sardina .
    USA : Anchoveta (fishermen and AFS list).
    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.
    Bayliff, (1969 - complete synopsis of biology and fishery)
    Howard, (1954)
    Howard & Landa, (1958)
    Simpson, (1959)
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