Marine Wildlife Encyclopedia
European Smelt Osmerus eperlanus
The European smelt is a small relation of salmon and trout and, like them, has a dorsal fin and an adipose, the latter of which is small and fatty. The name derives from the fact that, when fresh, this fish has a strong smell that is reminiscent of cucumber. Adults swim in shoals in inshore waters, hunting small crustaceans and fish. European smelt migrate up rivers to spawn, and the young fish are common in sheltered estuaries such as the Wash in southeast England (see Madagascar Mangroves).