Harengula humeralis

Common Name

Redear Sardine

Year Described

Cuvier, 1829


Dorsal Fin: 16-18
Anal Fin: 16-18
Pectoral Fin:
Pelvic Fin: 8 (7 branched)
Vertebrae: 40-44
Lateral Line Scales: 25-29
Ventral Scutes: 25-29
Gill Rakers: 27-31 lower (first arch in adults)

Body fusiforme and compressed. Mouth reaching anterior half of orbit. Hypomaxilla toothed. Basihyal and basibranchial tooth plates narrow (patch width 10% of length and not bulged in front). Eye large with fleshy eyelids. Dorsal fin single at mid-body. Pelvic fin origin closer to pectoral base than anal fin origin. Pectoral fin very low on body. Anal fin very small and far back on body. Tail forked. Body fully scales. Dorsal and anal fins with scale sheaths. Axillary scales present. Ventral scutes present.


Body bright silvery with a slate blue to blue-green back. Several longitudinal dark stripes following scale rows extend well down flanks. A bright orange to orange-red spot at top of gill cover, and also on top of eyeball and around tip of jaws. Dorsal fin with dark tip. Tail fin dusky to yellowish with dark tips. Rest of fins clear.


Maximum size to 22cm SL (usually ~12cm SL).


Shallow coral reefs, seagrass lagoons, and sandy beaches. Not typically found in brackish estuaries but prefers clear water.


Both coasts of Florida, the Caribbean Sea (continental and insular) to northern South America (French Guiana). Also Bermuda.


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.

Other Notes

Harengula is easily distinguished from other clupeid genera by ventral scute number (<32) and gill rakers (<45) in first arch. They are more deep bodied than Sardinella. Haregula humeralis averages lower meristics than the two other species in the Caribbean and is the only one with an orangish spot on the upper gill cover.