Freshwater Anchovy, Thryssa scratchleyi (Ramsay & Ogilby 1886)

Other Names: Freshwater Thryssa, New Guinea Thryssa

Freshwater Anchovy, Thryssa scratchleyi. Source: Whitehead, Nelson & Wongratana, 1988, FAO. License: CC by Attribution


Largest anchovy known.

Cite this page as:
Gomon 2010, Thryssa scratchleyi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Jun 2024,

Freshwater Anchovy, Thryssa scratchleyi (Ramsay & Ogilby 1886)

More Info


Roper River drainage, NT, Archer River to Leichhardt River drainages, Gulf of Carpentaria, Cape York, from Mitchell River, QLD (15°10’S); tropical; pelagic; inhabiting freshwater streams and associated lagoons, in clear or turbid water and also in brackish estuaries.


D 12-13; A 38-42; P 13.
Body compressed; abdomen with 27-31 scutes; small spine-like scute present just anterior to dorsal fin origin; large overshot mouth and very long upper jaw; maxilla short only reaching to front border of opercle; teeth small or minute, not canine-like; lower gill rakers 18 to 23;
Scales large, usually 43 or 44 in lateral series; vertical striae on scales just interrupted at middle of scale.
Dorsal fin rays branched; dorsal fin origin about mid body; anal fin relatively long, origin at or behind vertical through base of posteriormost dorsal fin ray.


Maximum size about 40 cm SL, commonly to 20 cm.


Silvery overall, steely-blue dorsally; no dark blotches on nape; a dusky area posterior to upper part of gill opening.


Feed on small crustaceans, fishes, insects and some aquatic plant material.


Breeding biology is poorly known, it is thought that adults move downstream to breed in estuaries.


Only anchovy in Australia restricted to mainly freshwater habitats. Form shoals in deep water of lagoons.

Species Citation

Engraulis scrathleyi Ramsay E.P. & Ogilby J.D. (1886) A contribution to the knowledge of the fish fauna of New Guinea. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. (2)1(1): 8-20 Strickland River, New Guinea.


Gomon 2010

Freshwater Anchovy, Thryssa scratchleyi (Ramsay & Ogilby 1886)


Allen, G. R. , H. Midgley, and M. Allen 2002 Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia.: I-xiv + 1-394.

Carpenter, K. E. and V. H. Niem 1999 Species identification guide for fisheries purposes. The living marine resources of the western central Pacific. Batoid fishes, chimeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). FAO, Rome.

Paxton, J. R. , D. F. Hoese, G. R. Allen and J. E. Hanley 1989 Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 7. Pisces. Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 7. v. 7: i-xii + 1-665.

Larson, H.K. and K.C. Martin 1989 Freshwater fishes of the Northern Territory. Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences. Handbook Series Number 1. Darwin. 102 p.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37086019

Habitat:brackish estuaries and freshwater

Max Size:40 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map