Widespread in the Atlantic Ocean from Trondheim to Morocco, also in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Pelagic species, inhabits the waters with temperature 13-16°C and depth 0–97 m (usually 5–80 m), near the coasts, in the estuaries, on the sandy and muddy bottoms, in foulings.
This fish is appreciated in Spain as part of the Andalusian, Catalonian and Valencian cuisines. In Andalusia, where they are called chanquetes it is traditionally served deep-fried, with fried eggs and roasted or fried pepper. Due to its rarity and high prize, it is being commercially replaced by some species of Chinese noodlefishes, locally called chanquete chino (Chinese chanquete), Neosalanx tangkahkeii and Protosalanx hyalocranius.
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