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Species Guide » 21. Bony fishes » Ammodytes tobianus ca / es

Scientific name: Ammodytes tobianus

Linnaeus, 1758

Common Name: Cat: Trencavits; Cast: Aguacioso, saltón, lanzón; Fr: Équille, grand lançon; Eng: Greater sandeel, small sandeel; De: Kleiner Sandaal, Tobiasfisch; Eusk: Abiosi

Group: 21. Bony fishes

Area type: Sand dive

Depth: From the intertidal zone to 20 to 30 m

Measures: Up to 20 cm

How does it look like?

Very elongated body, almost cylindrical. The coloration of the back is greenish-blue, the flanks are yellowish and the belly is silver. The body is covered with scales. The snout is long and pointed. The mouth is elongated forming a tube and the lower jaw is very prominent. The pectoral fins are small and lowered. The dorsal fin is very long and the anal fin is shorter; they lack pelvic fins.

 

Where does it live?

It is found in the eastern Atlantic, from Norway to the south of the Iberian Peninsula. It can also be found in the Balearic Islands. Common in coastal waters on sandy bottoms, including intertidal zones and estuaries. It hides, almost buried in the sand during the day. Often forms important shoals in the open sea.

 

How does it feed?

Plants, phytoplankton and is also carnivorous, feeding on zooplankton (small invertebrates and crustaceans, and fish larvae).

 

How does it reproduce?

Spawning in the North Atlantic has two distinct periods, spring and autumn. It takes place in shallow waters and the eggs (0.7-1 mm in diameter) are deposited in the sand by the female. After hatching, the larvae, which measure between 4 and 8 mm, are pelagic and constitute an important component of the plankton during the period of maximum laying intensity of the species.

 

Is a confusion possible?

It is possible to confuse it with Ammodytes marinus Raitt, 1934, but only the juveniles are sometimes coastal. It is a species that lives rather offshore. It differs from A. tobianus Linnaeus, 1758 also in that it does not have scales at the base of the tail.

 

Curiosities

· Some individuals arrive in large numbers on the beaches, hiding at low tide; they are then fished with rakes or hoes.

· It is an excellent bait especially for sea bass.

 

Taxonomy

Phylum: Chordata; Subphylum: Vertebrata; Infraphylum: Gnathostomata; Class: Osteichthyes; Subclass: Actinopterygii; Order: Perciformes; Family: Ammodytidae; Genus: Ammodytes

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