Alosa pseudoharengus - (Wilson, 1811)
Alewife
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Alosa pseudoharengus (Wilson, 1811) (TSN 161706)
French Common Names: gaspereau
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106128
Element Code: AFCFA01050
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Other Bony Fishes
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Clupeiformes Clupeidae Alosa
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B91ROB01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Alosa pseudoharengus
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly placed in genus Pomolobus.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 09Feb2016
Global Status Last Changed: 09Sep1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Dec1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5N,N5M (28Dec2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Connecticut (S3), Delaware (S4S5), District of Columbia (S5), Georgia (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Maine (S5), Maryland (S5), Massachusetts (S3S4), Michigan (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (S5), New York (S5), North Carolina (S5), Ohio (SNA), Pennsylvania (S3), Rhode Island (S3), Tennessee (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (S4), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA)
Canada Labrador (SNA), New Brunswick (S5), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Nova Scotia (S3), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (S4), Quebec (S4)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): SC: Species of concern (17Oct2006)
Comments on USESA: Petition to list as threatened or endangered under the ESA found to be not warranted (Federal Register, 12 August 2013). Petition to list as threatened under the ESA found to be warranted (Federal Register, 02 November 2011). Still included as a species of concern by NMFS (species of concern list accessed 19 August 2013).
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Medium) (10Jul2017)
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Atlantic coast from Labrador to South Carolina; also in Great Lakes (possibly native to Lake Ontario, colonized other lakes via the Welland Canal). Introduced in inland reservoirs in some areas.

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of subpopulations and locations.

Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but relatively large.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Dams impede upstream migrations.

Short-term Trend Comments: Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain but likely relatively stable or slowly declining.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Atlantic coast from Labrador to South Carolina; also in Great Lakes (possibly native to Lake Ontario, colonized other lakes via the Welland Canal). Introduced in inland reservoirs in some areas.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CT, DC, DE, GAexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KYexotic, MA, MD, ME, MIexotic, NC, NEexotic, NH, NJ, NY, OHexotic, PA, RI, TNexotic, VA, VTexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic
Canada LB, NB, NF, NS, ONexotic, PE, QC

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Meduxnekeag (01010005), Piscataquis (01020004)*, Lower Penobscot (01020005), Lower Kennebec (01030003), Upper Androscoggin (01040001), Lower Androscoggin (01040002), St. Croix (01050001), Maine Coastal (01050002), St. George-Sheepscot (01050003), Presumpscot (01060001), Saco (01060002), Piscataqua-Salmon Falls (01060003), Merrimack (01070002), Contoocook (01070003), Lower Connecticut (01080205), Charles (01090001), Cape Cod (01090002), Narragansett (01090004), Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005), Quinebaug (01100001), Shetucket (01100002), Thames (01100003), Quinnipiac (01100004), Housatonic (01100005), Saugatuck (01100006)
02 Middle Hudson (02020006), Rondout (02020007), Hudson-Wappinger (02020008), Lower Hudson (02030101), Bronx (02030102), Hackensack-Passaic (02030103), Sandy Hook-Staten Island (02030104), Southern Long Island (02030202), Upper Delaware (02040101), Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104), Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105), Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201), Lower Delaware (02040202), Brandywine-Christina (02040205), Broadkill-Smyrna (02040207), Great Egg Harbor (02040302), Upper Susquehanna (02050101)*, Chenango (02050102)*, Owego-Wappasening (02050103)*, Tioga (02050104)*, Chemung (02050105)*, Chester-Sassafras (02060002), Choptank (02060005), Blackwater-Wicomico (02060007), Nanticoke (02060008), Chincoteague (02060010), Middle Potomac-Catoctin (02070008), Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan (02070010), Lower Potomac (02070011), Great Wicomico-Piankatank (02080102), Rapidan-Upper Rappahannock (02080103)*, Lower Rappahannock (02080104), Mattaponi (02080105), Pamunkey (02080106), York (02080107), Lynnhaven-Poquoson (02080108), Eastern Lower Delmarva (02080110), Lower James (02080206), Appomattox (02080207), Hampton Roads (02080208)
03 Roanoke Rapids (03010106), Lower Roanoke (03010107), Nottoway (03010201), Blackwater (03010202), Ghowan (03010203), Meheriin (03010204), Albemarle (03010205), Fishing (03020102), Lower Tar (03020103), Pamlico (03020104), Pamlico Sound (03020105), Bogue-Core Sounds (03020106), Upper Neuse (03020201), Middle Neuse (03020202), Contentnea (03020203), Lower Neuse (03020204), New (03030001), Lower Cape Fear (03030005), Northeast Cape Fear (03030007), Carolina Coastal-Sampit (03040207)
04 Cedar-Portage (04100010), Sandusky (04100011)*, Huron-Vermilion (04100012), Black-Rocky (04110001), Ashtabula-Chagrin (04110003), Chautauqua-Conneaut (04120101), Lake Erie (04120200)
05 Upper Ohio (05030101), Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103), Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201), Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203), Upper Cumberland-Cordell Hull (05130106), Lower Cumberland-Old Hickory Lake (05130201)
06 Watauga (06010103), Holston (06010104), Watts Bar Lake (06010201)
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed (based on multiple information sources) Help
Ecology & Life History
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Diagnostic Characteristics: Often confused with A. AESTIVALIS.
Reproduction Comments: Spawns in spring or summer, depending on the locality (later in north than in south). Eggs hatch in a week or less. Males sexually mature in about 2-3 years, females in 3-4 years; all have spawned at least once by age 5 years; age of first spawning, % of repeat spawners, and longevity seem to decrease from north to south. May breed only once in some areas. Spawners move rapidly downstream after spawning. See Fay et al. 1983 for many additional details.
Ecology Comments: Important link in estuarine and marine food webs, between zooplankton and top piscivores; also may be highly utilized by gulls and terns (Fay et al. 1983). Lake populations often experience massive summer die-offs.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates between freshwater spawning habitat and nonspawning marine habitat. Some populations are landlocked, entirely freshwater, make local migrations. Some populations may not migrate.
Marine Habitat(s): Near shore, Pelagic
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Habitat Comments: Marine waters or open lake waters except during breeding season. Lake populations overwinter in deep water. See Fay et al. (1983) for details on various specific environmental requirements. Marine populations spawn in quiet portions of rivers (fresh or brackish water) or in small streams, in lagoons behind barrier beaches, or in lakes above influence of tide. Lake populations move into shallow inshore waters or ponds to spawn at night. Larvae occur in or slightly downstream from spawning areas; juveniles may exhibit net upstream movement until leaving freshwater/estuarine nursery areas in summer or fall (or, in some areas, in spring of the next year).
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats mainly zooplankton, especially crustaceans; fish eggs, crustacean eggs, insects and insect eggs, and small fishes may be important foods in some areas or for larger individuals (see Fay et al. 1983 for further details).
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Feeds most extensively during daylight.
Length: 35 centimeters
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: In last 2 decades has gained in recognition and interest as source of fish meal, fish oil, and fish protein, especially for the animal food industries (Fay et al. 1983). However, has declined in commercial importance in South Atlantic region in recent decades (Bozeman and Van Den Avyle 1989).
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Fishes with Anadromous Populations

Use Class: Freshwater
Subtype(s): Rearing & Migration Area, Spawning & Rearing Area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs and larvae) in appropriate habitat. For anadromous populations, occurrences are based on collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more spawning adults, redds, other evidence of spawning, or larvae or juveniles in appropriate spawning/rearing habitat.
Mapping Guidance: Conceptually, the occurrence includes the entire freshwater area used by the population, including spawning, rearing, and migration areas. For anadromous populations, an occurrence should extend from the most upstream spawning areas downstream to the ocean. However, it is desirable (and practical) to subdivide this sometimes very large occurrence, sometimes overlapping with many other spaghetti-like occurrences extending down from the upstream spawning areas to the ocean, into separate source features or sub-occurrences, labeled with a feature label that reflects the life history stage in that area. Moreover, it may make practical sense to treat the areas downstream of spawning and/or rearing areas as a mixed element animal assemblage: Freshwater Salmon Migration Corridor. This negates the need to separately map each occurrence down to the ocean from its upstream spawning location. Information about areas with different life-history uses can be generated by using best professional judgment by district or regional fish biologists and may or may not incorporate specific locational information from spawning surveys or other surveys.
Separation Barriers: Dam lacking a suitable fishway; high waterfall; upland habitat that is very unlikely to be submerged even during periods of exceptionally high water (e.g., 100-year flood or 1% flood).
Alternate Separation Procedure: For anadromous populations and migratory populations that have distinct and separate spawning and nonspawning areas, the area used by each population whose spawning area is separated by a gap of at least 10 stream-km from other spawning areas within a stream system is potentially mappable as a distinct occurrence that extends down to the ocean (but see mapping guidance), regardless of whether the spawning areas are in the same or different tributaries.

For other (e.g., nonanadromous) populations in streams, separation distance is 10 stream-km for both suitable and unsuitable habitat. However, if it is known that the same population occupies sites separated by more than 10 km (e.g., this may be common for migratory, nonanadromous populations), those sites should be included within the same occurrence. In lakes, occurrences include all suitable habitat that is presumed to be occupied (based on expert judgment), even if documented collection/observation points are more than 10 km apart. Separate sub-occurrences or source features may usefully document locations of critical spawning areas within a lake.

Separation Justification: The separation distance is arbitrary but was selected to ensure that occurrences are of manageable size but not too small. Because of the difficulty in defining suitable versus unsuitable habitat, especially with respect to dispersal, and to simplify the delineation of occurrences, a single separation distance is used regardless of habitat quality.

"Restricted movement is the norm in populations of stream salmonids during nonmigratory periods," but there is considerable variation in movements within and among species (Rodriguez 2002). Redband trout in Montana had October-December home ranges of 5-377 m, consistent with small movements observed for radio-tagged brook trout and cutthroat trout during fall and winter (Muhlfeld et al. 2001). For nonanadromous populations, little is known about juvenile dispersal (e.g., how far fishes may move between between their embryonic developmental habitat and eventual spawning site).

In summer and fall, radio-tagged cutthroat trout in Strawberry Reservoir in Utah had single-month home ranges that were usually about 3-4 km in maximum length (Baldwin et al. 2002). In the Blackfoot River drainage, Montana, radio-tagged westslope cutthroat trout moved 3-72 km (mean 31 km) to access spawning tributaries (Schmetterling 2001). This indicates that migratory but nonanadromous populations may use extensive areas and that one should not invoke the 10-km separation distance without considering the full extent of the population.

Date: 25Nov2009
Author: Hammerson, G., and L. Master
Notes: This Specs Group comprises fish species that include anadromous populations (may also include nonanadromous populations), such as lampreys, sturgeons, herrings, shads, salmonids, and smelts.

Criteria for marine occurrences (Location Use Class: Marine) have not yet been established. These may not be needed for marine occurrences of species that likely will be dealt with as mixed element assemblages (e.g., Salmonid Marine Concentration Area).

Feature Descriptor Definitions:

Spawning Area: area used for spawning but not for rearing or migration.

Rearing Area: area used for larval/juvenile development but not for spawning or migration.

Migration Corridor: area used for migration but not for rearing or spawning.

Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 27Apr1993
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Aquin, P. 1999. Évaluation de la situation des groupes taxonomiques des poissons du Québec. Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Faune. 9 pages.

  • Becker, G. C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. Univ. Wisconsin Press, Madison. 1052 pp.

  • Becker, G. C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 1,052 pp.

  • Bozeman, E. L., Jr., and M. J. Van Den Avyle. 1989. Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (South Atlantic): alewife and blueback herring. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Report 82(11.111). 17 pp.

  • Brown, E.H. Jr. 1968. Population characteristics and physical condition of alewives, Alosa pseudoharengus, in Lake Michigan, 1949-1970. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 29(5):477-500.

  • Cooper, E.L. 1983. Fishes of Pennsylvania. Penn State Univ. Press, University Park, PA.

  • Cooper, J.E. 1978b. Identification of eggs, larvae, and juveniles of the rainbow smelt, Osmerus mordax, with comparison to larval alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus, and gizzard shad, Dorosoma cepedianum. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 107(1):56-62.

  • Etnier, David A. and Wayne C. Starnes. 1993. The Fishes of Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville. 681 pp.

  • Fay, C. W., R. J. Neves, and G. B. Pardue. 1983. Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (mid-Atlantic): alewife/blueback herring. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service FWS/OBS-82/11.9.

  • George, C.J. 1980. The fishes of the Adirondack Park. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Albany, NY 94 pp.

  • Legendre, V. et J.F. Bergeron. 1977. Liste des poissons d' eau douce du Québec. MLCP, Service Aménage. Expl. Faune. Rap. dact. 6

  • Nelson, J. S., E. J. Crossman, H. Espinosa-Perez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, and J. D. Williams. 2004. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 29, Bethesda, Maryland. 386 pp.

  • Page, L. M., H. Espinosa-Pérez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, N. E. Mandrak, R. L. Mayden, and J. S. Nelson. 2013. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Seventh edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 34, Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 432 pp.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. xix + 663 pp.

  • Page, LM, H.Espinoza-Perez, L.Findley, C.Gilbert, R. Lea, N. Mandrak, R.Mayden and J.Nelson. 2013. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, 7th edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 34, Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.

  • Rodriguez, M. A. 2002. Restricted movement in stream fish: the paradigm is complete, not lost. Ecology 83(1):1-13.

  • Scott, W. B., and E. J. Crossman. 1973. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Bulletin 184. 966 pp.

  • Simon, Thomas P. 2011. Fishes of Indiana. Indiana University Press. Bloomington, 345 pp.

  • Smith, C.L. 1985. The Inland Fishes of New York State. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY. 522pp.

  • Smith, S.H. 1968e. The alewife. Limnos 1(2):12-20.

  • Stow, C. A., S. R. Carpenter, L. A. Eby, J. F. Amrhein, and R. J. Hesselberg. 1995. Evidence that PCBc are approaching stable concentrations in Lake Michigan fishes. Ecological Applications 5:248-260.

  • Threinen, C.W. 1958. Life history, ecology, and management of the alewife. Wisconsin Conservation Department, Publication 223:1-8.

  • Werner, R.G. 1980. Freshwater fishes of New York State. N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. 186 pp.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Downman, R.H. 1883. Shad, herring, etc., excluded from the Rappahannock River by dams. U.S. Fish Commission Bulletin 3:392.

  • Etnier, D. A., and W. C. Starnes. 1993. The fishes of Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tennessee. xiv + 681 pp.

  • Guthrie, R. C. and J. A. Stolgitis. 1977. Fisheries investigations and management in Rhode Island lakes and ponds. Rhode Island Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish & Wildlife, Fisheries Report No. 3., Providence, Rhode Island.

  • Jenkins, R. E., and N. M. Burkhead. 1994. Freshwater fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland. xxiii + 1079 pp.

  • Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina. i-x + 854 pp.

  • Master, L. L. and A. L. Stock. 1998. Synoptic national assessment of comparative risks to biological diversity and landscape types: species distributions. Summary Report submitted to Environmental Protection Agency. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. 36 pp.

  • Menhinick, E. F. 1991. The freshwater fishes of North Carolina. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. 227 pp.

  • Penobscot Indian Nation. 2001. The Penobscot Nation and the Penobscot River Basin. A Watershed Analysis & the Management (WAM) Pilot Project, Indian Island, ME

  • Rulifson, R.A. 1994. Status of anadromous Alosa along the east coast of North America. Page 134-158 in J.E. Cooper, R.T. Eades, R.J. Klauda, and J.G. Loesch (editors). Anadromous Alosa Symposium. Tidewater Chapter, American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

  • Smith, C. L. 1985. The inland fishes of New York State. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, New York, xi + 522 pp.

  • Trautman, M. B. 1981. The fishes of Ohio. Second edition. Ohio State University Press, Columbus, Ohio. 782 pp.

  • University of Maine, Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research. Accessed Spring 2007. PEARL. Online.

  • Whitworth, W. R., P. L. Berrien, and W. T. Keller. 1976. Freshwater fishes of Connecticut. Bulletin of the Connecticut Geological and Natural History Survey 101. vi + 134 pp.

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