Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found in shallow coastal waters as well as in protected bays and estuaries (Ref. 10198). Occurs in large schools and burrows in the sand at times to a depth of several inches.
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Distribution

Labrador to southern Delaware
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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Northwest Atlantic: southern Delaware north to Labrador.
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Western Atlantic.
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Western North Atlantic: from southern Delaware north to Labrador.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 52 - 61; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 26 - 33; Vertebrae: 62 - 70
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Size

Maximum size: 220 mm ---
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Max. size

23.5 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5951))
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to 22 cm TL (male/unsexed).
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Diagnostic Description

Number of lateral plicae 106-126, with a mean of 117.4. Best separated from A. dubius by the number of plicae singly or in combination with the number of vertebrae.
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Ecology

Habitat

benthic
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Bottom living species found in shallow bays and protected bays and estuaries, often on or burrowing into sandy bottom; to 20 m in Gulf of Maine.
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Habitat Type: Marine

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Environment

demersal; marine; depth range 0 - 73 m (Ref. 57178)
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Depth range based on 75 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 23 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 1.5 - 205
  Temperature range (°C): 0.713 - 16.407
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.743 - 16.048
  Salinity (PPS): 31.462 - 34.602
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.655 - 7.197
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.372 - 1.245
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.132 - 10.545

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 1.5 - 205

Temperature range (°C): 0.713 - 16.407

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.743 - 16.048

Salinity (PPS): 31.462 - 34.602

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.655 - 7.197

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.372 - 1.245

Silicate (umol/l): 2.132 - 10.545
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Demersal; marine. Found in shallow coastal waters as well as in protected bays and estuaries. Occurs in large schools and burrows in the sand.
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Feeds on copepods, mysids, cumaceans, amphipods, snails, small clams, isopods, small crabs and polychaete worms. Preyed upon by Atlantic cod, haddock, pollock, plaice and yellowtail flounder (Ref. 5951).
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Zooplankton and large diatoms.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Diet

Feeds on copepods, mysids, amphipods, snails, clams, isopods, crabs and polychaetes
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Reproduction

Winter spawner; gravid adults occurring November-February, post-larvae February-April (North Sea).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Ammodytes americanus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ammodytes americanus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: of potential interest
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Wikipedia

Ammodytes americanus

Ammodytes americanus, also known as American sand lance,[1] American sand eel,[2] and sand launce,[3] is a small fish in the family Ammodytidae. First described by James Ellsworth De Kay in 1842,[1] it is widespread in the western North Atlantic.[2] Like all sand lances, it has a long, thin body with a pointed snout;[4] mature fish typically range from 4 to 6 in (10 to 15 cm) in length, though some may reach 7 in (18 cm).[3] Its back is greenish-brown, while its sides and abdomen are silvery. It has a long, low dorsal fin (described as "very delicate") which extends along most of its back, folding into a groove at the fin's base when not in use.[4] Its anal fin is roughly the same height as the dorsal fin, and extends over the posterior third of the fish's body. Its pectoral fins are small, and its caudal fin is forked.[4] Its mouth is large and toothless, with a lower jaw that extends well beyond the upper.[3] It typically travels in large schools, spending most of its time relatively near the water surface. It feeds primarily on plankton, though it is known to take small clams and snails from the sea floor, presumably when plankton is scarce. Towards dusk, schools of A. americanus bury themselves in sand, typically from 1 to 6 in (2.5 to 15.2 cm) below the sand's surface close to the water's edge; they avoid rocky areas. They do this to avoid being detected by night-hunting species such as bluefish and stripers.[2]

Ammodytes americanus is an important prey item for many species of fish, whales and birds.[2] Breeding roseate terns, a federally endangered species in the United States, feed their chicks almost exclusively on the species.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ammodytes americanus DeKay, 1842". FishBase. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Mitchell, Ed (1995). Fly Rodding the Coast. Mechanicsburg, PA, US: Stackpole Books. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-8117-0628-5. 
  3. ^ a b c Bigelow, Henry B.; Schroeder, William C. (1953). "Fishes of the Gulf of Maine". Fishery Bulletin of the Fish and Wildlife Service 53. 
  4. ^ a b c Storer, David Humphreys (1861). "A History of the Fishes of Massachusetts". Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Boston, MA, US: American Academy of Arts and Sciences. pp. 410–411. 
  5. ^ Safina, Carl; Wagner, Richard H.; Witting, David A.; Smith, Kelly J. "Prey Delivered to Roseate and Common Tern Chicks; Composition and Temporal Variability" (PDF). Journal of Field Ornithology 61 (3): 331–338. 
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