Pilchard, a fish of the herring family, and genus alosa (Cuv.). It is about as large as a herring, but rounder and thicker, and with larger scales; it differs principally from the herring (clupea) in having a deep notch in the centre of the upper jaw. It is the A. pilchar-dus (Val.), from 9 to 11 in. long, bluish green above, on the sides and below silvery, the dorsal fin and tail dusky, the cheeks and gill covers tinged with golden yellow and with variously radiating strige; the mouth small and without teeth. It feeds on shrimps, minute crustaceans, and the roe of fish. It occurs in immense numbers on the coasts of Cornwall and Devonshire, from July until Christmas; it is caught, principally at night, in large perpendicular nets, one end of which is sunk to the bottom by weights and the other kept afloat by corks; as many as 1,200 hogsheads have been taken in a single fishing, and the average annual product in Cornwall is over 20,000 hogsheads, containing about 60,000,000 individuals; the fish are preserved in the same way as herring.
Pilchard (Alosa pilchardus).