Anchovy
Overview
Anchovies are a family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 (Engraulidae) of small, common salt-water forage fish
Forage fish
Forage fish, also called prey fish or bait fish, are small fish which are preyed on by larger predators for food. Predators include other larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Typical ocean forage fish feed near the base of the food chain on plankton, often by filter feeding...

. There are 144 species in 17 genera, found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Anchovies are usually classified as an oily fish
Oily fish
Oily fish have oil in their tissues and in the belly cavity around the gut. Their fillets contain up to 30 percent oil, although this figure varies both within and between species...

.
Anchovies are small, green fish with blue reflections due to a silver longitudinal stripe that runs from the base of the caudal fin. They range from 2 centimetre (0.78740157480315 in) to 40 centimetres (15.7 in) in adult length, and the body shape is variable with more slender fish in northern populations.

The snout is blunt with tiny, sharp teeth in both jaws.
Encyclopedia
Anchovies are a family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 (Engraulidae) of small, common salt-water forage fish
Forage fish
Forage fish, also called prey fish or bait fish, are small fish which are preyed on by larger predators for food. Predators include other larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Typical ocean forage fish feed near the base of the food chain on plankton, often by filter feeding...

. There are 144 species in 17 genera, found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Anchovies are usually classified as an oily fish
Oily fish
Oily fish have oil in their tissues and in the belly cavity around the gut. Their fillets contain up to 30 percent oil, although this figure varies both within and between species...

.

Description

Anchovies are small, green fish with blue reflections due to a silver longitudinal stripe that runs from the base of the caudal fin. They range from 2 centimetre (0.78740157480315 in) to 40 centimetres (15.7 in) in adult length, and the body shape is variable with more slender fish in northern populations.

The snout is blunt with tiny, sharp teeth in both jaws. The snout contains a unique rostral organ
Rostral organ
The rostral organ of the coelacanth is a large gel-filled cavity in the snout, with three pairs of canals to the outside.It is surrounded by an insulating layer of adipose tissue and innervated by the superficial ophthalmic nerve. Its anatomy and innervation suggest it is an electroreceptive organ...

, believed to be sensory in nature, although its exact function is unknown. The mouth is larger than that of herring
Herring
Herring is an oily fish of the genus Clupea, found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea. Three species of Clupea are recognized. The main taxa, the Atlantic herring and the Pacific herring may each be divided into subspecies...

s and silversides
Silverside (fish)
The Old World silversides are a family, Atherinidae, of fish in the order Atheriniformes. They occur worldwide in tropical and temperate waters...

, two fish anchovies closely resemble in other respects. The anchovy eats plankton
Plankton
Plankton are any drifting organisms that inhabit the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water. That is, plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than phylogenetic or taxonomic classification...

 and fry (recently-hatched fish).

Distribution

They are found in scattered areas throughout the world's oceans, but are concentrated in temperate waters, and are rare or absent in very cold or very warm seas. They are generally very accepting of a wide range of temperatures and salinity
Salinity
Salinity is the saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of water. It is a general term used to describe the levels of different salts such as sodium chloride, magnesium and calcium sulfates, and bicarbonates...

. Large schools can be found in shallow, brackish areas with muddy bottoms, as in estuaries and bays. Anchovies are abundant in the Mediterranean, particularly in the Alboran Sea
Alboran Sea
|300px|thumb|]]The Alboran Sea is the westernmost portion of the Mediterranean Sea, lying between Spain on the north and Morocco and Algeria on the south...

; the species is regularly caught along the coasts of Sicily, Italy, France, Turkey and Spain. They are also found on the coast of northern Africa. The range of the species also extends along the Atlantic coast of Europe to the south of Norway. Spawning occurs between October and March, but not in water colder than 12°C
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

 (53.6°F
Fahrenheit
Fahrenheit is the temperature scale proposed in 1724 by, and named after, the German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit . Within this scale, the freezing of water into ice is defined at 32 degrees, while the boiling point of water is defined to be 212 degrees...

). The anchovy appears to spawn at least 100 kilometres (62.1 mi) from the shore, near the surface of the water.

Predation

The anchovy is a significant food source for almost every predatory fish in its environment, including the California halibut
California halibut
The California halibut or California flounder, Paralichthys californicus, is a large-tooth flounder native to the waters of the Pacific Coast of North America from the Quillayute River in Washington to Magdalena Bay in Baja California. It feeds near shore and is free swimming. It typically weighs...

, rock fish
Striped bass
The striped bass is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and the state saltwater fish of New York, Virginia, and New Hampshire...

, yellowtail, shark
Shark
Sharks are a type of fish with a full cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body. The earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago....

, chinook
Chinook salmon
The Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, is the largest species in the pacific salmon family. Other commonly used names for the species include King salmon, Quinnat salmon, Spring salmon and Tyee salmon...

, and coho salmon
Coho salmon
The Coho salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch, is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family. Coho salmon are also known as silver salmon or "silvers". It is the state animal of Chiba, Japan.-Description:...

. It is also extremely important to marine mammals and birds; for example, breeding success of California brown pelican
Brown Pelican
The Brown Pelican is the smallest of the eight species of pelican, although it is a large bird in nearly every other regard. It is in length, weighs from and has a wingspan from .-Range and habits:...

s and elegant tern
Elegant Tern
The Elegant Tern is a seabird of the tern family Sternidae. It breeds on the Pacific coasts of the southern USA and Mexico and winters south to Peru, Ecuador and Chile....

s is strongly connected to anchovy abundance.

Consumption

Anchovies are also eaten by humans. When preserved by being gutted and salted
Salting (food)
Salting is the preservation of food with dry edible salt. It is related to pickling . It is one of the oldest methods of preserving food, and two historically significant salt-cured foods are dried and salted cod and salt-cured meat.Salting is used because most bacteria, fungi and other potentially...

 in brine
Brine
Brine is water, saturated or nearly saturated with salt .Brine is used to preserve vegetables, fruit, fish, and meat, in a process known as brining . Brine is also commonly used to age Halloumi and Feta cheeses, or for pickling foodstuffs, as a means of preserving them...

, matured, then packed in oil or salt, they acquire a characteristic strong flavor. In Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 times, they were the base for the fermented fish sauce called garum
Garum
Garum, similar to liquamen, was a type of fermented fish sauce condiment that was an essential flavour in Ancient Roman cooking, the supreme condiment....

that was a staple of cuisine and an item of long-distance commerce produced in industrial quantities, and were also consumed raw as an aphrodisiac
Aphrodisiac
An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire. The name comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexuality and love. Throughout history, many foods, drinks, and behaviors have had a reputation for making sex more attainable and/or pleasurable...

. Today they are used in small quantities to flavor many dishes. Because of the strong flavor, they are also an ingredient in several sauces, including Worcestershire sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Worcestershire sauce , or Worcester sauce is a fermented liquid condiment; primarily used to flavour meat or fish dishes.First made at 60 Broad Street, Worcester, England, by two dispensing chemists, John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, the Lea & Perrins brand was commercialised in 1837 and...

, remoulade
Remoulade
Remoulade or rémoulade, invented in France, is a popular condiment in many countries. Very much like the tartar sauce of some English-speaking cultures, remoulade is often aioli- or mayonnaise-based. Although similar to tartar sauce, it is often more yellowish , often flavored with curry, and...

 and many fish sauce
Fish sauce
Fish sauce is a condiment that is derived from fish that have been allowed to ferment. It is an essential ingredient in many curries and sauces. Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in numerous cultures in Southeast Asia and the coastal regions of East Asia, and features heavily in Thai and Vietnamese...

s, and in some versions of Café de Paris butter. For domestic use, anchovy fillets are packed in oil or salt in small tins or jars, sometimes rolled around caper
Caper
Capparis spinosa, the caper bush, is a perennial winter-deciduous species that bears rounded, fleshy leaves and large white to pinkish-white flowers. A caper is also the pickled bud of this plant...

s. Anchovy paste is also available. Fishermen also use anchovies as bait for larger fish, such as tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

 and sea bass.
Black sea bass
The black sea bass is an exclusively marine fish. It is a type of Grouper found more commonly in northern than in southern ranges.It inhabits the coasts from Maine to NE Florida and the eastern Gulf of Mexico....



The strong taste people associate with anchovies is due to the curing
Curing (food preservation)
Curing refers to various food preservation and flavoring processes, especially of meat or fish, by the addition of a combination of salt, nitrates, nitrite or sugar. Many curing processes also involve smoking, the process of flavoring, or cooking...

 process. Fresh anchovies, known in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 as alici, have a much milder flavor. In Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, the name anchovies is related strongly to a traditional seasoning, hence the product "anchovies" is normally made of sprats
European sprat
The European sprat, Sprattus sprattus, also known as bristling, brisling or skipper, is a small, herring-like, marine fish. Found in European waters, it has silver grey scales and white-grey flesh. Specific seas in which the species occurs include the Irish Sea, Baltic Sea and Sea of the Hebrides...

 and also herring
Herring
Herring is an oily fish of the genus Clupea, found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea. Three species of Clupea are recognized. The main taxa, the Atlantic herring and the Pacific herring may each be divided into subspecies...

 can be sold as "anchovy-spiced", leading to confusion when translating recipes.

The European anchovy
European anchovy
The European anchovy is a forage fish somewhat related to the herring. Anchovies are placed in the family Engraulidae....

, Engraulis encrasicolus, is the main commercial anchovy, with Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 being the largest supplier of canned anchovies. The anchovy industry along the coast of Cantabria
Cantabria
Cantabria is a Spanish historical region and autonomous community with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community , on the south by Castile and León , on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea.Cantabria...

, initiated in Cantabria by Sicilian salters in the mid 19th century, now dwarfs the traditional Catalan
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 salters.

Fresh and dried anchovies are a popular part of the cuisine in Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 and other south Indian states, where they are referred to as kozhuva (and nethili in Tamil Nadu) and provide a cheap source of protein in the diet. Fresh anchovies are eaten fried or as in a spicy curry. In English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

-speaking countries, alici are sometimes called "white anchovies", and are often served in a weak vinegar marinade, a preservation method associated with the coastal town of Collioure
Collioure
Collioure is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.It lies on the Mediterranean and was a part of the ancient Roussillon province....

 in southeast France. The white fillets (a little like marinated herrings) are sold in heavy salt, or the more popular garlic or tomato oil and vinegar marinade packs.

In Southeast Asian countries, dried anchovies are known as ikan bilis, setipinna taty, or in Indonesia ikan teri, (ikan being the Malay
Local Malay languages
The Malay languages are a group of closely related languages that developed from Malay outposts across Malaysia and Indonesia. They include Malay proper , Bacanese Malay, Bengkulu, Berau Malay, Cocos Islands Malay, Jambi Malay, Kedah Malay, Kota Bangun Kutai Malay, Loncong, Pattani Malay,...

 word for fish) and dilis in the Philippines. In Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Malaysia, and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, anchovies are used to make fish stock
Stock (food)
Stock is a flavoured water preparation. It forms the basis of many dishes, particularly soups and sauces.- Preparation :Stock is made by simmering various ingredients in water, including some or all of the following...

, Javanese sambal
Sambal
Sambal is a chili based sauce which is normally used as a condiment. Sambals are popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines and Sri Lanka, as well as in the Netherlands and in Suriname through Javanese influence. It is typically made from a variety of chili peppers and is...

, or are deep fried. Ikan bilis is normally used in a similar way to dried shrimp
Dried shrimp
Dried shrimp are shrimp that have been sun dried and shrunk to a thumbnail size. They are used in many Asian cuisines, imparting a unique umami taste. A handful of shrimp is generally used for dishes...

 in Malaysian cuisine. Anchovy is also used to produce budu, by a fermentation process. In Vietnam, anchovy is the main ingredient in the fish sauce
Fish sauce
Fish sauce is a condiment that is derived from fish that have been allowed to ferment. It is an essential ingredient in many curries and sauces. Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in numerous cultures in Southeast Asia and the coastal regions of East Asia, and features heavily in Thai and Vietnamese...

 - nước mắm - the unofficial national sauce of Vietnam. In other parts of Asia, such as Korea and Japan, sun-dried anchovies are used to produce a rich soup similar to setipinna taty. In the Philippines, anchovy is very popular in making bagoong
Bagoong
Bagoong is a Philippine condiment made of partially or completely fermented fish or shrimps and salt. The fermentation process also results in fish sauce .The preparation of bagoong can vary regionally in the Philippines....

, a fermented concoction used for cooking. These anchovy stocks are usually used as a base for noodle soups or traditional Korean soups. There are many other variations on how anchovy is used, especially in Korea.

In North America, anchovies are often used as a pizza
Pizza
Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, disc-shaped bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.Originating in Italy, from the Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria"...

 topping, as an optional ingredient in Caesar salad
Caesar salad
A Caesar salad is a salad of romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and black pepper. It may be prepared tableside.-History:...

, and as a component of Worcestershire sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Worcestershire sauce , or Worcester sauce is a fermented liquid condiment; primarily used to flavour meat or fish dishes.First made at 60 Broad Street, Worcester, England, by two dispensing chemists, John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, the Lea & Perrins brand was commercialised in 1837 and...

.

In Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, anchovy is known as hamsi (which is derived from hamsin, an Arabic term for the winter period) and is eaten between November and March. It is generally consumed fried, grilled, steamed, as a meatball, and as Döner, baklava and pilav.

In Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 as other south India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n states, anchovy is a delicacy called nethili. It is fried, made into curry with coconut milk or tamarind paste, or pickled. Dried anchovy is kind of staple diet for those in the coastal districts.

Health concerns

Anchovies can concentrate domoic acid
Domoic acid
Domoic acid , the neurotoxin that causes amnesic shellfish poisoning , also known as zombie acid, is a kainic acid analog, heterocyclic amino acid associated with certain harmful algal blooms.-Occurrence:...

, which causes amnesic shellfish poisoning
Amnesic shellfish poisoning
Amnesic shellfish poisoning is a human illness caused by consumption of the marine biotoxin called domoic acid. This toxin is produced naturally by marine diatoms belonging to the genus Pseudo-nitzschia and the species...

in humans, sea mammals, and birds. If suspected, medical attention should be sought.

External links

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