Common Forage Fish of the Barnegat Bay
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The Forage Fish of Barnegat Bay
As interesting as these species are in form, nature is just as concerned in their function, hence the term
forage fish or "prey species".  You see there are two conditions of existence in the Barnegat Bay (and every other habitat for that mater), you're either alive, or you're food for something else. As in the image above, the species below are an indispensable link to the survival and growth of all kingdoms of life depicted this site.  

The Common Forage Fish of the Barnegat Bay
Though some like menhaden, and mullet will spend their first year of life here, others like silversides, and killies will spend their entire life here.  None will grow larger than 8" in a single season.   

The Silversides--Our two most important open water forage species.  
 Atlantic Silversides (Menidia menidia)
May be found in the Barnegat Bay and adjacent surf from Jan. to Dec.  

For more about our most important open water forage fish click here- Photos 
Inland Silversides (Menidia beryllina)
1. Favors the lower salinities of the middle estuary (tributaries)
2. May be found mixed with At. Silversides in spring.           
           3. Can be told apart by smaller size and only 16 rays in anal fin.
           4. Less numerous than At. Silversides, but never leaves the the bay.            
The Killie Family--Our most important inshore forage species-Five Species  
Common Killies (Fundulus heteroclitus) "Mummychugs"
Striped Killies (Fundulus majolis)
Banded Killies (Fundulus diaphanus)
Sheepshead Minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus)
Rainwater Killies (Lucania parva) 
White Mullet (Mugil curema) 
Atlantic Menhadaden (Brevoortia tyrannus )
Alewife Herring (Alosa pseudoharengus) 
Fourspine Stickleback (Apeltes quadracus) 
Bay Anchovie (Anchoa mitchilli) 
Bay Anchovie (Anchoa mitchilli) 
The Sand Lance (Ammodytes sp.)
Though an important species in late fall, they rarely enter the bay farther than the inlets.  May grow to 12" and live as long as 10 yrs.  Move inshore to breed every fall and winter but rarely farther than the inlets due to their preference for sand.

 Photos, Note Cards and Greeting Cards

of the
Barnegat Bay
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