Shorthead Anchovy, Encrasicholina heteroloba (Rüppell 1837)

Other Names: De Vis's Anchovy, Devis' Anchovy, East Indian Anchovy

Illustration of a Shorthead Anchovy, Encrasicholina heteroloba. Source: FAO / FishBase. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A milky white anchovy with a broad silvery stripe from behind the upper part of the gill cover to the caudal-fin base (width of stripe almost equal to pupil diameter), a narrow black stripe along the the upper margin of the silver band, top of the head black, and a silver cheek and gill cover.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2024, Encrasicholina heteroloba in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024,

Shorthead Anchovy, Encrasicholina heteroloba (Rüppell 1837)

More Info


From about Broome, Western Australia, to Cooktown, Queensland. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the Red Sea and Indo-west Pacific - known from the northern Indian Ocean (from Gulf of Aden to Andaman Islands), and the western Pacific Ocean (southern Japan to Southeast Asia, northern Australia, Fiji, and Tonga).


Dorsal and anal fins with three unbranched rays; pseudobranchial filaments 18–22 (rarely 17, modally 19); gill rakers 14–23 (modally 20) in upper series on first gill arch, 20–26 (23) in lower series, 36–49 (42) in total; gill rakers 11–17 (14) in upper series on second gill arch, 19–25 (21) in lower series, 30–40 (34) in total; gill rakers 10–14 (12) in upper series on third gill arch, 10–14 (13) in lower series, 21–28 (23, 25) in total; gill rakers 6–12 (10) in upper series on fourth gill arch, 8–11 (10) in lower, 15–23 (21) in total; prepelvic scutes 3–7 (5); head rather long, length 24.9–28.9 % (mean 26.8 %) SL; upper jaw long, its posterior tip extending beyond posterior margin of preopercle; first unbranched dorsal and anal fin rays minute, length 0.4–1.8 % (mean 1.0 %) and 0.3–1.8 % (mean 0.9 %) SL, respectively; D– P1 (distance from origin of dorsal fin to pectoral-fin insertion) rather long, 97.5–126.5 % HL (mean 110.4 %).


Encrasicholina heteroloba (described from the Red Sea) is a senior synonym of E. devisi (described from Cape York, Queensland, Australia)

Similar Species

Encrasicholina heteroloba differs from other species in the genus in having a long upper jaw (posterior tip extending beyond the posterior margin of the preopercle), three unbranched rays in the dorsal and anal fins, and a shorter relative head length (24.9–28.9 % of standard length). Encrasicholina pseudoheteroloba differs from its congeners in having a long upper jaw (posterior tip extending beyond the posterior margin of the preopercle) and two unbranched rays in the dorsal and anal fins.


The specific name is from the Greek heteros (different, other) and the Latin lobus (= a lobe), possibly in reference to the “membranous lobes” (= scales) on the caudal fin.

Species Citation

Engraulis heteroloba Rüppell 1837, Fische des Rothen Meeres 3: 79, pl. 21(4). Type locality: Massawah, Red Sea. 


Bray, D.J. 2024


Atlas of Living Australia

Shorthead Anchovy, Encrasicholina heteroloba (Rüppell 1837)


Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp. (p. 88, as Encrasicholina devisi).

Hata, H. & Motomura, H. 2017. Validity of Encrasicholina pseudoheteroloba (Hardenberg 1933) and redescription of Encrasicholina heteroloba (Rüppell 1837), a senior synonym of Encrasicholina devisi (Whitley 1940) (Clupeiformes: Engraulidae). Ichthyological Research 64: 18–28

Hata, H., Motomura, H. & Ishimori, H. 2012. First Japanese record of an engraulid fish, Encrasicholina devisi (Clupeiformes), collected from Kagoshima Prefecture, southern Japan and comparisons with congeners. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 59: 125–134

Rüppell, W.P.E. 1837. Neue Wirbelthiere zu der Fauna von Abyssinien gehörig. Fische des Rothen Meeres. Frankfurt Vol. 3, pp. 53–80, pls 15–21. See ref at BHL

Whitehead, P.J.P. 1965. A review of the elopoid and clupeoid fishes of the Red Sea and adjacent regions. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Historical Series 12(7): 225-281 figs 1-4 

Whitehead, P.J.P., Nelson, G.J. & Wongratana, T. 1988. FAO Species Catalogue. Clupeoid fishes of the world (Suborder Clupeoidei). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the herrings, sardines, pilchards, sprats, anchovies and wolf-herrings. Engraulididae. FAO Fisheries Synopsis. No. 125 Vol. 7 Pt 2. 305-579 pp. 

Whitley, G.P. 1940. Illustrations of some Australian fishes. The Australian Zoologist 9(4): 397-428 figs 1-45 pls 30-31 (p. 404, fig. 11, as Amentum devisi)

Wongratana, T. 1987. Two new species of anchovies of the genus Stolephorus (Engraulidae), with a key to species of Engraulis, Encrasicholina, and Stolephorus. American Museum Novitiates 2876: 1–8.

Wongratana, T., Munroe, T.A. & Nizinski, M.S. 1999. Family Engraulidae. pp. 1698-1753 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37086015

Depth:1-50 m


Max Size:8 cm SL

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