Peruvian anchovetas form large shoals close to the coasts of Peru and Chile. Feeding almost entirely on plankton in the Peruvian current, populations can be badly affected by the El Niño phenomenon. Large numbers of birds depend on the anchoveta shoals for their food supply.
Scientific name: Engraulis ringens
The following habitats are found across the Peruvian anchoveta distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
The Peruvian anchoveta (Engraulis ringens) is a fish of the anchovy family, Engraulidae.
Anchoveta are pelagic fish in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, and are regularly caught on the coasts of Peru, and Chile. They live for up to 4 years, reaching 20 cm, with recruitment occurring after only about 6 months when they have already grown over 8 cm. It was previously thought that anchoveta ate mostly phytoplankton, small zooplankton, and larvae. However, recent work has shown that anchoveta get most of their energy from zooplankton and macrozooplankton (Espinoza & Bertrand 2008, Espinoza et al. 2009). Euphausiids and large copepods are the most important dietary components.
After a period of plenty in the late 1960s, the population was greatly reduced during the 1972 El Niño event, when warm water drifted over the cold Humboldt Current, and lowering the depth of the thermocline. Nutrient rich waters were then no longer upwelled and phytoplankton production decreased, leaving the anchoveta with a depleted food source.
Since the mid-1980s, the Peruvian anchoveta has again become very abundant, with current catch levels being comparable to those of the 1960s.