E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Hypomesus pretiosus (Girard, 1854)
Surf Smelt
Family: Platytroctidae
Photo of species

© Aaron Baldwin  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #103540)

Source: Distribution of Hypomesus pretiosus as compiled by Aquamaps
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Species Information

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 9 - 11; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 12 - 17; Vertebrae: 64 - 67. Vomer small, without posterior process; periphery of glossohyal bone with single row of blunt teeth, a few teeth located irregularly at center of distal region; base of adipose fin less than 20% of head length; eye small; adipose eyelid well developed (Ref. 33312). Distinguished by its midlateral scale count of 66 to 73 and the presence of 4 to 7 pyloric caeca (Ref. 27547). Lateral line short and incomplete, reaching about to tip of pectorals (Ref. 27547). Adipose sickle-shaped; pectorals small; pelvic fins originating behind or below dorsal origin (Ref. 6885). Light olive green to brownish on back, sides and belly silvery and iridescent with a bright reflecting band along the side in living specimens; males show more golden hues than females during spawning season (Ref. 6885). Branchiostegal rays: 7-8 (Ref. 35792).

Source: FishBase. Saruwatari, T., J.A. López and T.W Pietsch. 1997 . (Ref. 33312)


Species Biology

Individuals 3.5 cm may ascend rivers, presumably returning to the sea shortly after (Ref. 27547). Presumably young move offshore and reappear inshore as mature adults (Ref. 27547). At sea, they feed on small crustaceans, worms and jellyfish, as well as larval fishes (Ref. 6885, 10276). Females reach age 3, males age 2 (Ref. 27547). Oviparous, with demersal eggs and planktonic larvae (Ref. 35792). Eggs are laid on beaches with heavy surf action (Ref. 33312). Environment: benthopelagic; brackish; marine Climate: temperate; 57°N - 34°N

Source: FishBase. Saruwatari, T., J.A. López and T.W Pietsch. 1997 . (Ref. 33312)



Eastern Pacific: Prince William Sound, Gulf of Alaska to Long Beach, southern California, USA. Reports from the western Pacific are misidentifications of Hypomesus japonicus.

Source: FishBase. Saruwatari, T., J.A. López and T.W Pietsch. 1997 . (Ref. 33312)

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeSNRNo StatusNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-04-22 8:13:45 AM]
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