Sardinella is a genus of fish in the family Clupeidae. Gregarious marine pelagic fish 20-40 cm long, inhabiting tropical and subtropical waters of the World Ocean. Unlike sardines, the gill cover is smooth, there is no dark spot behind the gill cover. Includes about 16 species. Planktophagous and phytophagous. Live from 3 to 6-7 years. They are of commercial importance.
Mouth terminal, small, radial grooves on cap bone absent. There are no dark spots on the body. Along the posterior margin of the gill opening there are fleshy growths that distinguish sardinellas from other herring-like species with the exception of Harengula, Opisthonema, Herklotsichthys and Amblygaster. Sardinellas are similar to Amblygaster sardinellas, from which they differ in the number of lower gill stamens (40-100 vs. 26-43) and median premaxillary scales. They are similar in appearance to Clupea and Strangomera, with which they have an overlapping range in the North Atlantic and probably in the North and South Pacific. Valuable commercial fish.
Widespread in abundance in tropical and subtropical waters of all oceans. Marine pelagic fish, leading a gregarious lifestyle. Juveniles are often found in lagoons and estuaries, while adults are more common near the coast.