Ammodytes americanus

Common Name

American Sand Lance

Year Described

DeKay, 1842


Dorsal Fin: 52-61 (mean ~57)
Anal Fin: 26-33 (mean ~29)
Pectoral Fin: 11-15 (mean ~13)
Gill Rakers: 21-28 (mean ~24) on first arch
Vertebrae: 62-70 (mean ~66)
Lateral Plicae: 106-126 (mean ~117)


Brilliant silvery, darker blue-black above.


Maximum size to 23.5cm SL.


An inshore species found commonly in estuaries and protected waters.


Northwestern Atlantic: Labrador to off Delaware.


Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2012. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication., version, (08/2012).

Nizinski, M.S. , Collette, B.B., and B.B. Washington. 1990. Separation of two species of sand lances, Ammodytes americanus and A. dubius, in the western north Atlantic. United States Fish and Wildlife Service Fishery Bulletin v. 88 (no. 2): 241-255.

Other Notes

Some meristic values are higher in the northern parts of the range than in the south. Lateral plicae, vertebrae, and dorsal finray counts are quite effective in separating A. dubius and A. americanus (Nizinski et al., 1990).

Ammodytes hexapterus, is listed on Fishbase (Froese, 2012) as living in the W. Atlantic but is only found in the North Pacific.