1 minute read

Weeverfishes and Relatives: Trachinoidei

Inshore Sand Lance (ammodytes Americanus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Inshore sand lances are long and thin. They have no teeth, and the lower jaw juts far beyond the upper jaw. The dorsal and anal fins are very long. Tiny folds of skin all along the body have smooth scales underneath them. The body is olive, brownish, or bluish green on top with silvery sides and a white belly. These fish grow to a length of about 6 inches (16 centimeters).

Geographic range: Inshore sand lances live on the Atlantic coast of North America.

Habitat: Inshore sand lances burrow in sand or gravel in shallow water along the coast and in estuaries.

Inshore sand lances form schools of up to several thousand fish. (Illustration by Barbara Duperron. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Inshore sand lances eat animal plankton.

Behavior and reproduction: Inshore sand lances form schools of up to several thousand fish. At high tide they burrow into the sand and remain there until the next tide. Scientists have never observed inshore sand lances spawning. These fish can reproduce when they are about two years old. They release eggs that sink to the bottom and hatch into freely swimming larvae (LAR-vee), or animals in an early stage that must change form before becoming adults. Inshore sand lances live about twelve years.

Inshore sand lances and people: Inshore sand lances have little direct importance to humans. They are important as food for fish that are caught and sold.

Conservation status: Inshore sand lances are not threatened or endangered. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesWeeverfishes and Relatives: Trachinoidei - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Inshore Sand Lance (ammodytes Americanus): Species Accounts, Northern Stargazer (astroscopus Guttatus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, WEE