Allosmerus elongatus

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Allosmerus elongatus, whitebait smelt
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Osmeriformes
Family: Osmeridae
Genus: Allosmerus
C. L. Hubbs, 1925
Species: A. elongatus
Binomial name
Allosmerus elongatus
(Ayres, 1854)

The only member of its genus, Allosmerus elongatus, the whitebait smelt, is an uncommon marine species of smelt, about which little is known.[1] Originally described as both Osmerus attenuatus and O. elongatus, these two species were determined to be conspecific in 1946.[2] The fish can grow from 7–9 inches in length, has large eyes, a greenish-gray color on its back, and a silver band along its sides. Unlike most other smelt species which generally have no enlarged teeth in the roof of their mouth, the whitebait has single large tooth in the center of its vomer, which is sometimes flanked by a smaller tooth on either side. The adult males of the species have a longer anal fin.[3]

Their range extends from Vancouver Island to San Francisco, California, although one fish has been found as far south as San Pedro, California,[3] a specimen which may have been released as live bait. Often abundant in bay areas, whitebait are known to spawn on subtidal sandbanks and swim in schools.[3] The fish has fairly minor economic importance; it serves as food for larger fish, and is netted by some fishermen during the spring and summer to be used as bait.[3][4]


  1. ^ Moyle PB. Inland fishes of California. 2nd ed. California: University of California Press; 2002. ISBN 978-0-520-22754-5. p. 226.
  2. ^ McAllister DE. A revision of the smelt family, Osmeridae. National Museum of Canada Bulletin. 1963;191:29-31.
  3. ^ a b c d Eschmeyer WN, Peterson RT, Herald ES. A field guide to Pacific coast fishes: North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1999. ISBN 978-0-618-00212-2. p. 81.
  4. ^ McClane AJ. McClane's field guide to saltwater fishes of North America. New York: Macmillan; 1978. ISBN 978-0-8050-0733-6. p. 79-80.