Anchovies (Engraulis mordax)—Tom McHugh/Photo Researchers

Any of more than 100 species of schooling saltwater fishes (family Engraulidae) related to the herring. Anchovies are distinguished by a large mouth, almost always extending behind the eye, and by a pointed snout. Most species live in shallow tropical or warm temperate seas, where they often enter brackish water around river mouths. Adults are 4–10 in. (10–25 cm) long. Temperate species such as the northern and European anchovies are important food fishes; tropical species such as the tropical anchovy, or anchoveta, are important bait fishes. See also schooling behaviour.

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