European Pilchard

European pilchard is a marine fish species.

It’s also sometimes called Sardine, Iberian sardine, Atlantic-Iberian sardine, Atlanto-Iberian sardine, or Cornish sardine.

This fish is found in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea.

It dwells at depths of 33 feet to 180 feet underwater. However, it can go up to 330 feet underwater.

European pilchard is a shoaling fish and usually lives close to land.

However, it can sometimes travel around 62 miles into the sea.


Given below is the scientific classification of European pilchard:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Clupeiformes

Family: Clupeidae

Genus: Sardina

Species Scientific Name: Sardina pilchardus

European Pilchard Appearance

European pilchard is green or olive in color on top and silvery at the bottom.

Its flanks are golden in color. There are a series of dark spots along its top flanks.

This fish is somewhat small in size. Its body is also somewhat elongated with scutes on its belly.

The pelvic fins of the European pilchard start behind the dorsal fin, which is big and triangular in shape.

However, its pelvic, pectoral, and anal fins are small in size.

The average size of a European pilchard is 10 cm to 20 cm.

However, this fish can grow to a maximum length of 27.5 cm (10.8 inches).

The weight of this fish is around 70 grams. However, the recorded maximum weight of a rod caught European pilchard is 226 grams.

Here’s what this fish looks like in real life…

European Pilchard

European Pilchard Lifespan

European pilchards are believed to live up to 5 years.

European Pilchard Feeding Habits

European pilchard primarily eats zooplankton and phytoplankton. However, it also eats fish fry and young fish.

European Pilchard Breeding

European pilchards spawn in winter. The female European pilchards lay batches of 50000 to 60000 eggs.

Most young European pilchards mature at about one year of age and grow fully at about 8 years of age.

Interesting Facts About European Pilchards

There is a lot of confusion over which fish is the European pilchard.

This is because there are more than 30 species that are called either pilchards or sardines.

There is also confusion over whether this species is a pilchard or a sardine.

This is because the scientific name of this species, Sardina pilchardus, has both sardine and pilchard in it.

The meaning of pilchard and sardine also varies by region.

For example, The Sea Fish Industry Authority in the UK classifies sardines as young pilchards.

On the other hand, FAO/WHO Codex has 21 specific species classified as sardines.

Another criterion suggests that any fish that is shorter than 6 inches in length should be classified as sardines, and the bigger ones should be classified as pilchards.

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