Pacific Anchovetta
Anchovetta Bocona
(Cetengraulis mysticetus)

Pacific Anchovetta, Cetengraulis mysticetus: The Pacific Anchovetta has a bluish back and is silvery below with a strongly compressed deep body. The head has a sharply pointed rounded snout and a short top jaw.

The dorsal fin originates mid-body, the pectoral fins are long and reach the pelvic fins and the anal fin base is long with its origin under the last third of the dorsal fin.

They reach a maximum length of 22 cm (8.6 inches) but are commonly found between 10 cm and 12 cm (4 to 5 inches).

The Pacific Anchovetta form large schools over muddy inshore areas and are found up to 100 feet in the water column.

This fish species is mostly likely confused with the Bigscale Anchovy, Anchovia macrolepidota (pale caudal and dorsal fins with black margins).

The Pacific Anchovetta is found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific.

It is a member of the Engraulidae Family of anchovies which in Mexico are known as Sardinas. They are pelagic silvery fish that form huge, tight-knit schools found within 20 miles of the coast in all oceans between 60 degrees North and 50 degrees South latitude. They are the most abundant of the schooling pelagic fish and an important food source for predatory fish, birds and mammals. They are herring-like fish that have elongated rounded bodies with prominent pointed shark-like snouts that project beyond the tip of the lower jaw. They have mouths that extend well beyond the eye. They have no canine teeth and a silver stripe along the flanks. They have one dorsal fin that originates at mid-body and the pelvic fins are found on the belly. They feed on planktonic organisms.

Globally 139 species are known of which 23 are found in the tropical Eastern Pacific. Global annual catches of anchovies by net are in excess of 10,000,000 tons per annum and are used fresh, frozen or canned for human and pet-food consumption.

Pacific Anchovetta picture

Pacific Anchovetta, Cetengraulis mysticetus: Caught by commercial bait salesmen of the greater Los Cabos area, Mexico, April 2011. Size 10.0 cm (3.9 inches). Description and photo courtesy of John Snow.

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