O. Eperlanus, Flem. Brit. An. p. 181. Eperlanus, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 202. tab. N. 6. f. 4. Salmo Eperlanus, Linn. Syst. Nat. torn. i. p. 511. Block, Ichth. pl. 28. figs. 1,2. Don. Brit. Fish. vol. ii. pl. 48. Turt. Brit. Faun. p. 104. Smelt, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 313. pl. 61. no. 151. Id. (Ed. 1812). vol. iii. p. 416. pl. 72.

Length

From eight to ten, rarely twelve, inches. Pennant mentions one which measured thirteen inches.

Description

{Form). Elongated; the back straight, and in the same line with the profile: greatest depth one-seventh of the entire length; thickness rather more than half the depth: head small, one fifth of the entire length, somewhat conical: lower jaw longest, curving upwards when the mouth is closed: gape wide, extending to beneath the eyes: maxillary teeth sharp, but very fine; those in the lower jaw curved, and much longer; two rows of teeth on each palatine; also some very strong long curved teeth on the tongue and front of the vomer: eyes large: gill-cover produced posteriorly into an obtuse lobe: lateral line at first slightly descending, but afterwards straight: scales small, deciduous: dorsal commencing exactly half-way between the extremity of the upper jaw and the end of the fleshy part of the tail; its height nearly twice its length, and about equal to, or rather less than, the depth of the body; third ray longest; first two rays simple, the others branched; the last two from one root: adipose small, a little nearer the caudal than the dorsal: anal commencing a little beyond the tip of the reclined dorsal, much longer than that fin, and extending beyond a vertical line from the adipose; first ray very short; fourth longest; first three simple, the rest branched: the last two from one root: caudal deeply forked: pectorals attached low down, and just below the produced lobe of the gill-cover: ventrals beneath the commencement of the dorsal: number of fin-rays,

D. 11; A. 17; C. 19; P. 11; V. 8.

* Hist. Pise. p. 196.

{Colours). Back whitish, tinged with green; upper part of the sides varied with blue; lower part of the sides, and belly, bright silvery: irides silvery; pupil black: fins pale.

A common species on the British coasts, ascending rivers in December, January, and February, for the purpose of spawning, which takes place in March and April. Food, according to Bloch, worms, and small shells. Varies greatly in size; a circumstance which has induced the author just mentioned to form two species of it. Derives its English name of Smelt from a peculiar scent which it emits, and which has been compared by some to cucumbers, by others to violets. Is sometimes called a Sparling*.