Fun Japanese Anchovy Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Japanese Anchovy Facts For Kids

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Are you looking to know more about a prolific group of pelagic fish from the Pacific Ocean around Japan? We bring you a collection of interesting facts on the Japanese anchovy, closely related to sardines and herrings and a popular name in the food world. These fishes come from fisheries in the Sea of Japan, East China sea, yellow sea, and throughout the coasts of Japan. Therefore, these fishes are a great study subject in Marine biology and the fisheries in the Pacific Ocean region. Moreover, they are a healthy diet option for the health-conscious.

They play a crucial role in the marine ecosystem by providing a critical link at the trophic levels acting as predators of plankton and being the food of large piscivorous fishes. Mainland China fisheries contribute the largest catch of these anchovies.

If our fact-finding campaign has caught your attention, we have gathered more exciting fun facts on other aquatic creatures like codfish and spiny dogfish right here. So read on, and join the fun bandwagon.

Fun Japanese Anchovy Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Copepods, small crustaceans, small crustaceans, molluscan larvae, and diatoms

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

1.5 oz ( 42.5 g )

How long are they?

5.5 in ( 14 cm )

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Silver, blue, green

Skin Type

Wet, slimy scales

What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Pacific Ocean











Japanese Anchovy Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Japanese anchovy?

The Japanese anchovy is a popular fish found in large schools and is part of the family Engraulidae. They are pelagic fish found near the surface of the water mostly. They provide an excellent catch for the fisheries due to their abundance and pelagic nature.

What class of animal does a Japanese anchovy belong to?

The Engraulis japonicus belongs to the ray-finned fish class of Actinopterygii.

How many Japanese anchovies are there in the world?

Although many studies are being carried out worldwide to study the population of these anchovy species, no conclusive results have come out from the same. Therefore, the exact population of Japanese anchovies is unknown.

Where does a Japanese anchovy live?

As the name suggests, the Japanese anchovies are an abundant fish species from the Pacific ocean near the Japan region. Most anchovies are found in the South Pacific Ocean near the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, the East China Sea, the Yellow Sea, and Japan's coasts.

What is a Japanese anchovy's habitat?

These marine fishes can appear near the water surface quite often, which happens chiefly near coastal areas. However, these marine wonders can also be explored as extended as  621.3 mi (1000 km) away from the coast. They thrive in a temperate climate with temperatures ranging from 46- 86 F (8°C - 30°C). They are known to fathom depths up to 127.9 ft (400 m). These surface dwellers are Oceanodromous, meaning they spend their entire life in saltwater.

Who do Japanese anchovies live with?

Taking an example from the sea of Japan area, we can observe the group behavior of these anchovies species. These fish species form a large group commonly referred to as a school of anchovies. Doing so, they hunt food together and form defense mechanisms against predators.

How long does a Japanese anchovy live?

The Japanese anchovies live as long as two to three years. Thus, the lifespan of the Japanese anchovies is similar to that of the European anchovy.

How do they reproduce?

These species of anchovies are fecund fishes, with the spawning activity for these fish species being observed from Taiwan to the regions south of Sakhalin. They attain sexual maturity when they become two years of age. The breeding activity peaks in early spring from February to April. The hatching takes two to four days. The parental affiliation is minimal in these species of fish.

What is their conservation status?

The Japanese anchovies are placed under the Least Concern category on the IUCN Red List. However, it is safe to assume their population is well numbered as Japanese anchovies and sardines are a great bycatch in the fisheries from the southern parts of Japan during early spring.

Japanese Anchovy Fun Facts

What do Japanese anchovies look like?

Japanese anchovies have very tiny bones that almost look like hair.

The Engraulis japonicus is very similar to European anchovies. They are silvery with a blue-green back having shiny skin. They have a slender body and have scutes looking like small spines just ahead of their pelvic fins. The body is compressed with prominent scutes on the belly.

How cute are they?

To watch these tiny little fishes swimming in large schools is a delightful sight. Such a sight may transport the viewers to 'Finding Nemo' world in no time.

How do they communicate?

There is limited information available on the communication channels of these species of fish. However, it is observed that they deploy visual and chemical modes of communication to interact in the length of their habitat range and to connect with their mates.

How big is a Japanese anchovy?

The Engraulis japonicus can grow as much as 5.5 in (14 cm) in length. However, they are three times smaller than the herrings that can grow a maximum length of 15 in (38 cm).

How fast can a Japanese anchovy move?

These anchovies species are noted to swim with a speed of 4-4.7 in/sec(10-12 cm/sec). In a live car experiment, they were observed to move clockwise rather than anti-clockwise. Their swimming abilities are altered by light and sound.

How much does a Japanese anchovy weigh?

The Japanese anchovies weigh 1.5 oz (42.5 g). Thus, they are half the size of Indian oil sardines that weigh 3.88 oz (110 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female species are referred to as male Japanese anchovy and female Japanese anchovy, respectively.

What would you call a baby Japanese anchovy?

The baby Japanese anchovies can be termed larvae, fry, or fingerling based on their developmental stages. The eggs become larvae that gain nutrition from a yolk sac attached to themselves. When they become self-fed, they are called fry. When the fry develops scales and fins, they become a fingerling.

What do they eat?

Engraulis japonicus diet includes copepods, small crustaceans, small crustaceans, molluscan larvae, and diatoms. These anchovies are predated by sharks, large birds, striped bass, and more.

Are they poisonous?

These fish species can gather a good amount of domoic acid in their abdomen, leading to a condition known as Amnesic shellfish poisoning. It can cause short-term memory loss, damage to the brain, or death in rare scenarios. Hence, these fishes need to be consumed in moderation, and medical attention must be sought if any symptoms persist.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they do not make good pets as they are large schooling fishes and migratory; confinement will not do them any good.

Did you know...

Many people may grow a distaste towards the anchovies for their strong taste, which is bestowed by the curing process. However, it is a method of preservation of food by adding salt to drain out the moisture.

A full moon night provides a great catch for these anchovy fishes, as their bodies shine bright in the moonlight.

Do they bite?

They are not known to bite humans.

Do humans eat them?

Yes, they are a popular part of cuisines in Japan and across many parts of the world. In Japan, anchovies are a favorite snack item. They are used in various ways in many dishes. This fish is pretty small and may look hairy due to the small bones on the fillet of the fish. The main purpose of these structures is protection from predators.

Iriko is the dried-up form of anchovies used to make fish broth like Miso soup or the Udon soup in Japan. These fish are highly rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce the triglyceride in our body, which helps in keeping the blood pressure in control. So why not add some anchovies into your diet for some great health benefits?

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including swai fish facts and skate fish facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Japanese anchovy coloring pages.

Written By
Kidadl Team

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