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Temporal range: Late Jurassic to present
Atlantic herring, Clupea harengus
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
(unranked): Otocephala
Superorder: Clupeomorpha
Order: Clupeiformes
Goodrich, 1909
Type species
Clupea harengus

See text

Clupeiformes /ˈklpɪfɔːrmz/ is the order of ray-finned fish that includes the herring family, Clupeidae, and the anchovy family, Engraulidae. The group includes many of the most important forage and food fish.


Clupeiformes are physostomes, which means that their gas bladder has a pneumatic duct connecting it to the gut. They typically lack a lateral line, but still have the eyes, fins and scales that are common to most fish, though not all fish have these attributes. They are generally silvery fish with streamlined, spindle-shaped, bodies, and they often school. Most species eat plankton which they filter from the water with their gill rakers. [1]

The former order of Isospondyli was subsumed mostly by Clupeiformes, [2] but some isospondylous fishes (isospondyls) were assigned to Osteoglossiformes, Salmoniformes, Cetomimiformes, etc. [3]


Phylogeny of Clupeiformes by Lavoué et al 2014. [4]







Dussumieriidae s.s.







The order includes about 405 species in seven families: [5] [6]

Timeline of genera

QuaternaryNeogenePaleogeneCretaceousJurassicHolocenePleistocenePlioceneMioceneOligoceneEocenePaleoceneLate CretaceousEarly CretaceousLate JurassicMiddle JurassicEarly JurassicAustroclupeaSarmatellaEngraulisXyneQuisqueGanolytesGanoessusEtringusAliseaPseudohilsaSardinopsIlishaAnchoaStolephorusSardinaPomolobusOpisthonemaAlosaSardinellaEtrumeusChirocentrusHarengulaClupeaHacquetiaKnightiaGasteroclupeaHistiothrissaLeufuichthysScombroclupeaOrnategulumDaitingichthysPachythrissopsQuaternaryNeogenePaleogeneCretaceousJurassicHolocenePleistocenePlioceneMioceneOligoceneEocenePaleoceneLate CretaceousEarly CretaceousLate JurassicMiddle JurassicEarly JurassicClupeiformes

Related Research Articles


Clupeidae is a family of ray-finned fishes, comprising, for instance, the herrings, shads, sardines, hilsa, and menhadens. The clupeoids include many of the most important food fishes in the world, and are also commonly caught for production of fish oil and fish meal. Many members of the family have a body protected with shiny cycloid scales, a single dorsal fin, and a fusiform body for quick, evasive swimming and pursuit of prey composed of small planktonic animals. Due to their small size and position in the lower trophic level of many marine food webs, the levels of methylmercury they bioaccumulate are very low, reducing the risk of mercury poisoning when consumed.


Osteoglossiformes is a relatively primitive order of ray-finned fish that contains two sub-orders, the Osteoglossoidei and the Notopteroidei. All of at least 245 living species inhabit freshwater. They are found in South America, Africa, Australia and southern Asia, having first evolved in Gondwana before that continent broke up.


Neopterygii is a subclass of ray-finned fish (Actinopterygii). Only a few changes occurred during the evolution of neopterygians from the earlier actinopterygians. They appeared sometime in the Late Permian, before the time of the dinosaurs. The neopterygians were a very successful group of fish, because they could move more rapidly than their ancestors. Their scales and skeletons began to lighten during their evolution, and their jaws became more powerful and efficient. While electroreception and the ampullae of Lorenzini are present in all other groups of fish, with the exception of hagfish, neopterygians have lost this sense, even if it has later been re-evolved within Gymnotiformes and catfishes, which possess nonhomologous teleost ampullae.


The Atheriniformes, also known as the silversides, are an order of ray-finned fishes that includes the Old World silversides and several less-familiar families, including the unusual Phallostethidae. The order includes at least 354 species. They are found worldwide in tropical and temperate marine and freshwater environments.

The Argentine anchoita or Argentine anchovy is an anchovy of the genus Engraulis, found in and around waters of Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil.


Sardinella is a genus of fish in the family Clupeidae found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean. They are abundant in warmer waters of the tropical and subtropical oceans. Adults are generally coastal, schooling, marine fish but juveniles are often found in lagoons and estuaries. These species are distinguished by their ranges and by specific body features, but they are often confused with one another. Fish of the genus have seven to 14 striped markings along the scales of the top of the head. The paddle-shaped supramaxilla bones are characteristic; they separate Sardinella from other genera and their shapes help distinguish species. They have paired predorsal scales and enlarged fin rays.

Blue-backed fish ; also referred to as Blue-fish is a category of fish used in Japanese cuisine that have a rich and fatty taste, and are distinguished from another category of white meat fish that tend to have a lighter and more delicate flavor. It is not a scientific categorization, but refers to commonness in outer appearance, fleshiness and oiliness and include such species of fish as sardine, mackerel, herring, perch and anchovy. Blue-backed fish tend to be high in the essential amino acid, histidine, as well as the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and are generally said to have health benefits when included in a balanced diet, including such effects as reducing cholesterol.


Whitebait is a collective term for the immature fry of fish, typically between 1 and 2 inches long. Such young fish often travel together in schools along the coast, and move into estuaries and sometimes up rivers where they can be easily caught with fine meshed fishing nets. Whitebaiting is the activity of catching whitebait.

Anchovy Family of fishes

An anchovy is a small, common forage fish of the family Engraulidae. Most species are found in marine waters, but several will enter brackish water, and some in South America are restricted to fresh water.

Etrumeus micropus

Etrumeus micropus is a species of round-herring that occurs in the western Pacific Ocean.

Ilisha (genus) Genus of ray-finned fishes

Ilisha is a genus of ray-finned fishes in the family Pristigasteridae. The genus contains 16 species. It is similar to Pellona but lacks a toothed hypo-maxilla. The genus has a worldwide distribution in tropical and subtropical coastal waters and estuaries. Some species also enter rivers, and I. amazonica and I. novacula are largely–if not entirely–restricted to tropical rivers.


Clupeinae is a subfamily of herrings, sardines and sprats belonging to the family Clupeidae.


Pellonulinae is a subfamily of freshwater herrings belonging to the family Clupeidae.

<i>Sardinella tawilis</i>

Sardinella tawilis, is a freshwater sardine found exclusively in the Philippines. It is the only member of the genus Sardinella known to exist entirely in fresh water. Locally, they are known in Filipino as tawilis.

Californian anchovy

The California anchovy or northern anchovy is a species of anchovy found in the Pacific Ocean, ranging from Mexico to British Columbia.


The Alosinae, or the shads, are a subfamily of fishes in the herring family Clupeidae. The subfamily comprises seven genera worldwide, and about 30 species.

<i>Microthrissa royauxi</i>

Microthrissa royauxi, the royal sprat, is a species of pelagic, freshwater fish from the herring family Clupeidae which is found in the Congo River basin in west Africa. It was described in 1902 by the Belgian-British zoologist George Albert Boulenger. It is of limited importance as a food fish in subsistence fisheries and its conservation status is Least Concern.


The Anabantiformes are an order of freshwater ray-finned fish with two suborders, five families and having at least 207 species. In addition, some authorities expand the order to include the suborder Nandoidei, which includes three families - the Nandidae, Badidae and Pristolepididae - that appear to be closely related to the Anabantiformes. The order, and these three related families, are part of a monophyletic clade which is a sister clade to the Ovalentaria, the other orders in the clade being Synbranchiformes, Carangiformes, Istiophoriformes and Pleuronectiformes. This clade is sometimes referred to as the Carangaria but is left unnamed and unranked in Fishes of the World. This group of fish are found in Asia and Africa, with some species introduced in United States of America.


  1. Nelson, Gareth (1998). Paxton, J.R.; Eschmeyer, W.N. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 91–95. ISBN   0-12-547665-5.
  2. Journal of Ichthyology. 46. Scripta. 2006. p. S40. within Isospondyli (= Clupeiformes s. lato )
  3. lfonso L. Rojo (2017). Dictionary of Evolutionary Fish Osteology. CRC. p. 170. ISBN   978-1-351-36604-5. Under the name Isospondyli, Regan (1909) grouped the fishes having the verterbrae immediately after the skull similar in shape to the remaining ones, in contrast to the ostariophysans, in which the anterior vertebrae are greatly modified. Modern classifications have rejected this artificially constructed group, and the fishes previously assigned to it have been distributed among different orders (Clupeiformes, Osteoglossiformes, Salmoniformes, Cetomimiformes, etc.)
  4. Sébastien Lavoué, Peter Konstantinidis & Wei-Jen Chen: Progress in Clupeiform Systematics. in Konstantinos Ganias (Hrsg.): Biology and Ecology of Sardines and Anchovies. CRC Press, 2014, ISBN   978-1482228540
  5. Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). "Clupeiformes" in FishBase . August 2012 version.
  6. Lavoue ´ S; Miya M; Musikasinthorn P; Chen W-J; Nishida M (2013). "Mitogenomic Evidence for an Indo-West Pacific Origin of the Clupeoidei (Teleostei: Clupeiformes)". PLoS ONE. 8 (2): e56485. Bibcode:2013PLoSO...856485L. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056485. PMC   3576394 . PMID   23431379.