Spirinchus thaleichthys  (Ayres, 1860)

Longfin smelt
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Spirinchus thaleichthys   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Spirinchus thaleichthys (Longfin smelt)
Spirinchus thaleichthys
Picture by Bull. U.S. Bur. Fish.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Osmeriformes (Smelts) > Osmeridae (Smelts)
Etymology: thaleichthys: thaleichthys meaning rich fish - referring to a high oil content (Ref. 1998).

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic; anadromous (Ref. 51243); depth range ? - 137 m (Ref. 6885).   Temperate; 61°N - 38°N (Ref. 26213)

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

North Pacific: Prince William Sound, Alaska to Monterey Bay, California, USA. Landlocked in Washington and Union Lakes in Washington, USA.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 9.0  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 20.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 27547); common length : 15.0 cm NG male/unsexed; (Ref. 27547); max. reported age: 3 years (Ref. 12193)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 8-10; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 15 - 19; Vertebrae: 55 - 61. Distinguished by its long upper jaw, which reaches at least below the middle of the eye in adults; the fine teeth in a single row on the vomer and palatine bones; and the 38 to 47 gill rakers on the 1st arch (Ref. 27547). Gill rakers long; lateral line incomplete and reaching not quite to below dorsal fin (Ref. 27547). Breeding males have tubercles on upper sides of paired fins (Ref. 27547). Pale olive brown dorsally, silvery white on sides and ventral surfaces; fins usually stripped along the rays, but inter-ray membranes clear;. Young are translucent with 2 rows of large black spots, on each side of the midline of the back, from head to caudal peduncle; peritoneum silver with light speckling. Spawning males with moss-green backs, and dense, black speckling on the head and dorsal surface of the body. The peritoneum is silvery with black speckling.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Found close to shore, in bays and estuaries and ascends coastal streams to spawn (Ref. 5723). There are landlocked populations (Ref. 5723) but these do not reach as great a size as sea-run fish (Ref. 27547). Anadromous (Ref. 96339). Individuals found in brackish and salt water feed on small crustaceans (Ref. 1998). Fish from the sea are reported to have good flavor, but supply is limited (Ref. 6885). Often abundant during the spawning run, but flesh reported to be soft and oily, easily spoiling (Ref. 1998).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Although most individuals die after spawning, some females apparently survive to age 3. It is not known whether or not these 3-year-olds spawned previously (Ref. 27547).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr, 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p. (Ref. 5723)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

CITES (Ref. 115941)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: subsistence fisheries
FAO(Publication : search) | FishSource |

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


Special reports

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Internet sources

Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | DiscoverLife | ECOTOX | Faunafri | Fishtrace | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GloBI | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | SeaLifeBase | Tree of Life | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record

Estimates of some properties based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 4.4 - 11.6, mean 8.4 (based on 196 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.6250   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00437 (0.00196 - 0.00970), b=3.10 (2.90 - 3.30), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.2   ±0.35 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (tm=2; tmax=3; K=0.43; Fec=535).
Prior r = 0.56, 2 SD range = 0.25 - 1.26, log(r) = -0.58, SD log(r) = 0.4, Based on: 1 K, 2 tgen, 1 tmax, 5 Fec records
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low to moderate vulnerability (28 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.