10 20 40 60 cm
mittakaava < 20 cm
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www.scandfish.com, Petri Savola (Uudenmaan ympäristökeskus), Lauri Urho. All rights reserved.
- Other names: Sand launce
- Family: Sand lances – Ammodytidae
- Similar species: greater sandeel
- Size: 10-15 cm, max. 17-20 cm.
- Appearance: With its elongated body and protruding lower jaw, the lesser sandeel can only be confused with its larger cousin the greater sandeel. Individuals greater than 20 cm in length are almost certainly greater sandeels. Can be distinguished from a small greater sandeel by its mouth, which when opened projects forward to form a tube. The leading edge of the dorsal fin is also further forward than in the greater sandeel and is roughly in line with the tip of the pectoral fin.
- Colouring: Back bluish green, sides silvery. Its small size makes it translucent. Musculature clearly visible along the sides.
- Reproduction: Spawns during summer from May to September on sandy bottoms at depths of around 10 m. Some populations spawn twice, while other populations are either spring or autumn-spawning.
- Food: Plankton and small fish fry.
- Distribution and habitat: Fairly common along Finland’s coasts, particularly in the Gulf of Botnia, where it is more numerous than the greater sandeel. Also inhabits waters closer inshore than its larger cousin. Hides in the sand by day, emerging in shoals to seek food as the light fades or in dull, overcast weather.