Raitt's sand eel (Ammodytes marinus)
|Researched by||Morvan Barnes||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
Ammodytes marinus is a thin and elongated sand eel with a pointed jaw. It can reach a maximum length of 25 cm. Its dorsal colouring is usually dark green, while the ventral and lateral colouring is silvery in colour. There is a single long dorsal fin, and the anal fin is half the length of the dorsal fin. The tail fin is small and distinctively forked. The lower jaw is distinctly longer than the upper jaw.
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandWidely distributed throughout the UK and Ireland.
Global distributionMainly the UK, Norway and Greenland. Throughout the Northeast Atlantic from 74°N (Novaya Zemlya and Bear Islands) to 49°N (Channel Islands, western English Channel), including eastern Greenland, Iceland, Barents Sea, and the Baltic.
HabitatAmmodytes marinus is a schooling benthopelagic species, which may congregate in large schools near the surface or bury itself in sand. It may be found both inshore and offshore.
Depth range<150 m
- Elongated body up to 25 cm in length.
- Lower jaw projects beyond the upper jaw.
- Pelvic fin is absent and tail fin is forked.
- Lateral line is high on the body.
- Scales absent from a median band forward of the dorsal fin and from the base of caudal fin.
- Ventral scales are loosely aranged.
Morphological discrimination of sand eel species can often be problematic, particularly for smaller, younger individuals but molecular methods have proven successful (Mitchell et al., 1997).
Traditionally Ammodytes marinus, like other sand eels, has been little exploited for human consumption but is a major target of industrial fishing for animal feed and fertilizer, particularly in the North Sea. Increasing fishing pressure may be causing problems for some of their natural predators, especially seabirds which prey on them in deeper water (Muus & Nielsen, 1999).
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Last Updated: 25/03/2008
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