MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Greater sand eel (Hyperoplus lanceolatus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

The greater sand eel has a long, thin body with a pointed jaw. It has a single long dorsal fin and an anal fin that is about half the length of the dorsal. It has a small forked tail. Silvery appearance. The belly and lower sides are silver, the back and top sides are bluish-green. It can reach 32 cm in length.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Widely distributed around Britain and Ireland.

Global distribution

-

Habitat

Found over clean sandy seabeds; from the shore down to about 150 m.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Silvery eel-like fish.
  • Dark spot on each side of the snout.
  • Two pointed teeth in the palate.
  • Upper jaw not protractile.
  • Forked tail.

Additional information

Spawning takes place in spring and summer over sandy grounds. The eggs stick to the sand grains. It feeds on small planktonic animals floating in the water and on worms, small crustaceans and small fish. It can be confused with Ammodytes tobianus, but greater sand eel is larger and individuals greater than 20 cm long are likely to be this species.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Dipper, F., 2001. British sea fishes (2nd edn). Teddington: Underwater World Publications Ltd.

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Ruiz, A. 2008. Hyperoplus lanceolatus Greater sand eel. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2176

Last Updated: 17/04/2008