Alosa sapidissima

Common Name

American Shad

Year Described

Wilson, 1811


Dorsal Fin: 14-21
Anal Fin: 18-25
Pectoral Fin: 13-18
Pelvic Fin: 8-10
Vertebrae: 55-57
Scales: 52-62
Ventral Scutes: 35-38
Gill Rakers: 59-73

Cheek and opercular bones glossy; without obviously visible mucous pores/canals. Axillary scale of pelvic fin about half fin length.


Metallic green to blue above, grading to bright silvery on the sides and belly. A dark blotch is present posterior to the upper opercular margin. Several smaller, fainter spots may be present posterior to this blotch. The dorsal and anal fins may be dusky or clear.


Newfoundland to east-central Florida.


Hildebrand, S.F. 1964. Engraulidae and Clupeidae (pp. 152-454). In: Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Mem. Sears Fnd. Mar. Res. 1 (Vol. 3): 1-630.