Ammodytes dubius

Common Name

Northern Sand Lance

Year Described

Reinhardt, 1837


Dorsal Fin: 56-67 (mean ~62)
Anal Fin: 28-35 (mean ~31)
Pectoral Fin: 12-16 (mean ~14)
Gill Rakers: 23-31 (mean ~27) on first arch
Vertebrae: 68-76 (mean ~71)
Lateral Plicae: 124-147 (mean ~131)


Brilliant silvery, darker blue-black above.


Maximum size to 25cm SL.


An more offshore species found from 7-80m. Occasionally found inshore, but more common offshore.


Northwestern Atlantic: S. Greenland to off North Carolina.


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

Meristic values (plicae, dorsal rays, and vertebrae) are higher in the northern parts of the range than in the south. The variation is clinal and is indicative of a single variable offshore species, Ammodytes dubius. These three meristic characters 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.