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common name for members of the large, widely distributed family Clupeidae, comprising many species of marine and freshwater food fishes, including the sardine (Sardinia), the menhaden (Brevoortia and Ethmidium), and the shad (Alosa).
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any one fish belonging to the genus Sardina, Sardinella, or Sardinops of the family Clupeidae. Sardines are usually less than 25 cm long and weigh 100–150 g. They are pelagic fishes that form schools and feed on plankton. Sardines inhabit subtropical and tropical littoral waters of the world ocean. The fishes attain sexual maturity in two or three years and have a life-span of five to seven years. Spawning is fractional, occurring in the spring and summer. The roe are pelagic.
Sardines are most numerous off the northwestern coast (Sardinella) and southwestern coast (Sardinops) of Africa. Of particular commercial value in the 1930’s were the California sardine (Sardinops caerulea), which lives off the coast of California, and the Far-East pilchard (Sardinops sagax melanosticta), which inhabits the Sea of Japan. Sardines of the genus Sardina are distributed off the southwestern coast of Europe; occasionally they are encountered in the Black Sea.
Sardines are canned. A substantial amount of the catch is used to make feed meal for domestic animals.
REFERENCESSvetovidov, A. N. Sel’devye (Clupeidae). Moscow-Leningrad, 1952. (Fauna SSSR: Ryby, vol. 2, issue 1.)
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 4, part 1. Moscow, 1971.