[Jordan and Evermann, 1896-1900, p. 420.]
The most distinctive feature of this fish, among herrings, is that its belly is rounded, not sharp edged. It is, furthermore, the most slender of our herrings, its body being only [page 88] one-sixth as deep as long, thus suggesting a smelt in its general outline. Its dorsal fin, too, stands wholly in front of the ventrals instead of over the latter, as in herring, alewives, and shad; and there are fewer anal fin rays (only about 13, whereas the herring has about 17, the alewife about 19, and the shad about 21) than any of the latter.
Olive green above with silvery sides and belly.
Eight to ten inches long when adult.
Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts of the United States; occasionally common as far north as Woods Hole; sometimes straying past Cape Cod, to the mouth of the Bay of Fundy.
This southern fish has been taken at Provincetown, Mass., whence the Museum of Comparative Zoology has two specimens; one was taken in the Yarmouth River which empties into Casco Bay, and one in the bay itself on September 15, 1924; it has been reported from Jonesport, Maine; also from Eastport, Maine, in 1908. And a number of them were taken at Campobello Island, at the mouth of Passamaquoddy Bay in September 1937.