Stolephorus commersonnii

Commerson's anchovy (Stolephorus commersonnii), also known as Devis's anchovy, long-jawed anchovy, Teri anchovy, is a species of anadromous ray-finned fish in the family Engraulidae. It is known as haalmassa in Sri Lanka, where it is widely used as a nutrient-rich fish meat. It is widely used as a live or dead bait in tuna fishery.

Commerson's anchovy
Stolephorus indicus (larger specimens) with commerson's anchovy (smaller specimens) in a lab.jpg
Stolephorus indicus (larger specimens) with Commerson's anchovy (smaller specimens)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Engraulidae
Genus: Stolephorus
S. commersonnii
Binomial name
Stolephorus commersonnii
  • Anchovia commersoniana (Lacepède, 1803)
  • Anchoviella commersonii (Lacepède, 1803)
  • Stolephorus commerrianus Lacepède, 1803
  • Stolephorus commerson Lacepède, 1803
  • Stolephorus commersoni Lacepède, 1803
  • Stolephorus commersonianus Lacepède, 1803
  • Stolephorus commersonii Lacepède, 1803
  • Clupea tuberculosa Lacepède, 1803
  • Stolephorus rex Jordan & Seale, 1926
  • Anchoviella indica (non Hasselt, 1823) misapplied
  • Stolephorus indicus (non Hasselt, 1823) misapplied
  • Anchoviella holodon (non Boulenger, 1900) misapplied
  • Stolephorus holodon (non Boulenger, 1900) misapplied


It is a small schooling fish found in depth of 0–50 m in most of the tropical areas of the Indo-Pacific oceans, including Madagascar and Mauritius eastward and towards Hong Kong and further east to Papua New Guinea in westwards. Maximum length do not exceed 10 cm. It has no dorsal soft rays and possess only 18 to 19 anal soft rays. There are 0 to 5 small needle-like scutes on the belly region. Belly is slightly rounded. Body color is same as other engraulids, where body is light transparent fleshy brown with a pair of dark patches behind occiput, followed by a pair of lines to dorsal fin origin. The silver stripe present on flanks. Indian anchovy usually feeds on surface plankton. Female lay oval eggs in grassy sea beds.[1]

This fish, with the much larger Indian anchovy, is part of the cuisine of the South- and Southeast Asian marine regions.[2] It can be crisp-fried, used to make fish-based culinary products like fish sauce or in curries. In Sri Lanka, this variety of fish is made into a tasty snack by dipping in a batter of flour, then rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried in oil. It is also popular as a ‘white curry’, i.e.a curry made with coconut milk. A spicier variant is made with dry chilli gravy and served with scraped fresh coconut to offset the hotness of the gravy.[citation needed]

Vernacular namesEdit

Commerson's anchovy is known as:

  • Dilis in Filipino
  • Haalmassa (හාල්මැස්සා) in Sinhala
  • Netthallu (నెత్తళ్ళు) in Telugu[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Stolephorus commersonnii, Commerson's anchovy : Fisheries".
  2. ^ "Dried Anchovy (Stolephorus commersonii) | tradekorea".
  3. ^ Purnachand, GV (3 March 2013). "చేపా! చేపా! నీ పేరే౦టి?". Dr. GV Purnachand's Blog. GV Purnachand. Retrieved 21 October 2018.