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The false herring, Harengula clupeola, is one of several schooling bait fishes in Florida belonging to the family Clupeidae. Species from this group are characterized by several features, including: small, fusiform to subcylindrical bodies; pelvic scutes; and a terminal mouth with a short, deep lower jaw (Munroe & Nizinski 2002). The body of H. clupeola is moderately compressed and silvery in color with a dark greenish back (Robins et al. 1986). A pale yellow or orange spot is present near the top bone of the gill cover, called the opercle. Tips of the caudal fin may be dusky in color (Munroe & Nizinski 2002). Unlike other Harengula species, the dorsal fin is a similar coloration throughout, the jaw lacks a yellowish tint, and the scales are not easily shed (see "Potentially Misidentified Species" below). A series of ventral scutes (29-32, usually 30-31) line the abdomen on both sides of the pelvic fin, which bears 7 branched fin rays. Along with the dorsal fin, the pelvic fin is slightly anterior to the midpoint of the body.

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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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