Greater Sandeel

Fact File:

Common Name(s):
Greater Sandeel

Scientific Name:
Hyperoplus lanceolatus

Usual Size:

UK Record Weights from rod/line:


MAFF Minimum Size: Shore: Boat:

Typical sandeel form with long elongated body, with rounded cross-section. Long pointed head, with protruding lower jaw. The upper jaw is not fully protrusible, and is thus unable to form a tube. A single bifid "tooth" structure is to be found at the front of the palate. The scales of the belly do not form a chevron pattern. The ridge of skin running the length of the sides of the belly, only extend as far as one-third of the base of the anal fin. Long low set dorsal fin, comprised of between 52 to 61 rays. The anal fin is about half that of the dorsal fin, and is more squat in height. The pectoral fins are small, with the pelvic fins being absent. Colouration ranges from greenish yellow on the back and upper sides, to the bright silver of the lower sides and belly. There is a characteristic black smudge present between the eyes and snout, that is approximatlty the same size as that of the diameter of the eye.

Spawns between March through into August.

Found inshore from the low water mark down to over 100m, typically over clean sandy substrates.

Feeds on plankton, fish larvae, and a wide range of small crustaceans.

Found all around the British Isles.

Additional Notes:
Corbins Sandeel Hyperoplus immaculatus
This is a very similar saandeel to that of the Greater Sandeel, in that it lacks a protrusible upper jaw and is of a similar size (Max.35cm). However it can be distinguished by the absence of the black spot on the snout, but does sport a dark chin. The dorsal fin has 59 to 62 rays. The overall colouration is darker than other sandeels, is found offshore, and tends to be found more on the western side of the U.K.

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