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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Peruvian Anchoveta Engraulis ringens

The distribution of this tiny, silvery relative of the herring depends on the yearly extent of the Peruvian Current.

This cold, deep current comes to the surface along the west coast of South America, bringing rich supplies of nutrients with it. Enormous shoals of anchoveta feed on the plankton blooms triggered by the increase in nutrients. The fish shoal within about 50 miles (80 km) of the coast, and many local people depend on them, as do many birds, including pelicans.

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Peruvian Anchoveta habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Clupeiformes
  • Length Up to 8 in (20 cm)
  • Weight Up to 1 oz (25 g)
  • Depth 10–260 ft (3–80 m)
  • Distribution West coast of South America and southeastern Pacific