Dorosoma cepedianum

Common Name

American Gizzard Shad

Year Described

Lesueur, 1818


Dorsal Fin: 10-13
Anal Fin: 25-36
Pectoral Fin:
Pelvic Fin: 7-8 (6-7 branched)
Vertebrae: 48-51
Lateral Line Scales: 52-70
Ventral Scutes: 27-34
Gill Rakers: 400+ (first arch in adults)

Mouth subterminal. Snout protruding and rounded. Dorsal fin with a filamentous final ray.


Body bright silvery with a dark bluish back. Often with a brassy or golden sheen and faint dark stripes following upper scale rows. A black blotch on the lateral line immediately behind the gill cover. Fins dusky.


Maximum size to 52cm TL.


Occurs in freshwater, brackish water, and coastal marine habitats. Younger fish are found in areas of lower salinity and adults move into the sea.


St. Lawrence River to Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico to eastern Mexico.


McEachran, J.D. & J.D. Fechhelm. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 1: Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin. i-viii + 1-1112.

Munroe, T.A. & M.S. Nizinski. 2002. Clupeidaeidae (pp 804-830). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 2: Bony fishes part 1 (Acipenseridae-Grammatidae). FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5.