During the day, the threadfin shad spends its time in deeper waters. At night, it moves into shallow waters.
  • Size

    4 inches (10 cm) to 13 inches (33 cm)
  • Diet

    Plankton, organic debris
  • Range

    North america and south america
  • Habitat


Physical Characteristics

  • Coloration is bright silver with dark spot behind gill opening and bluish-black or greenish color on back.
  • Common length of approximately 4 inches (10 cm); maximum length of 13 inches (33 cm).
  • Body is compressed and rounded with elongated dorsal ray.

Animal Fact

The threadfin shad subject to die-offs in cold water.

Diet / Feeding

  • Omnivorous, filter feeder.
  • Diet consists of plankton and organic debris.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in North America in the Mississippi River system and Gulf of Mexico drainage and in Central America in rivers around Gulf to northern Guatemala and in Belize River. Introduced in Hawaiian waters and Chesapeake Bay tributaries.
  • Found mainly in fresh water, but adults also occasionally found in brackish and salt water in depths of 0-49 feet (0-15 m).
  • Spends daytime in deeper waters, nighttime in shallower waters.
  • Larvae are pelagic; found in freshwater.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Spawning fish.
  • Breeds in spring and autumn in open, fresh water near plants. Eggs attach to aquatic vegetation.
  • Female may lay 5,000 to 20,000 eggs, depending on its size.

Conservation Status

  • “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.
  • No major threats.

Additional Information

  • Found in large schools.
  • Maximum reported age is four years.
  • Used as baitfish.
  • Subject to die-offs in cold water.


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