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fish of the genus Alosa, family Clupeidae (herringherring,
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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 family), found in North America, Europe, and the Mediterranean. The American shad, A. sapidissima, is one of the largest (6 lb/2.7 kg average) of the herrings and has delicious but bony flesh; its roe is valued as a delicacy. It is found along the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland to Florida and successfully introduced on the Pacific coast.Shad ascend rivers to spawn in the spring. Water pollution and overfishing have cut down their numbers. Named for its muscular gizzardlike stomach, the American gizzard shad, Dorosoma cepedianum, is a swift, silvery fish, 1 ft (30 cm) long, found along the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to Texas and up the Mississippi to the Great Lakes. Shads and gizzard shads are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Clupeiformes, family Clupeidae.


See J. McPhee, The Founding Fish (2002).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Alosa sapidissima), a fish of the family Clupeidae (herrings). The largest of the anadromous herrings, the shad is up to 75 cm long and weighs up to 6.4 kg. It is found along the Atlantic coast of North America, from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Florida. It has been acclimatized in the Pacific Ocean, where it is found from Alaska to San Diego and near Kamchatka. The fish ascend rivers to spawn in the spring. The eggs are deposited in batches. Fecundity is up to 150,000 eggs. The diet consists of plankton (usually the larger forms) and, sometimes, fry. The shad is a valuable commercial fish. In recent years, the catch has decreased considerably because of pollution and the regulation of rivers.


Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 4, part 1. Moscow, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. any of various herring-like food fishes of the genus Alosa and related genera, such as A. alosa (allis shad) of Europe, that migrate from the sea to freshwater to spawn: family Clupeidae (herrings)
2. any of various similar but unrelated fishes
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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