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You are here: Home / Aquatic Species / Species Profiles / Alewife
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AlewifeScientific name: Alosa pseudoharengus (Wilson, 1811)

Common names: Alewife, mulhaden, grey herring, golden shad

Click image to enlarge

Native To: Atlantic Ocean (CABI 2011)

Date of U.S. Introduction: Known to have been present in Lake Ontario in 1873. Possibly native to Lake Ontario. Present in Lake Erie in 1931, Huron in 1933, Michigan in 1949, and Lake Superior in 1954 (Miller 1957)

Means of Introduction: Spread to Great Lakes Lake Erie through the Welland Canal (Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture 2007); presumed to have spread from Lake Erie to other Great Lakes via the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair (Miller 1957); intentionally stocked in inland waters (Stahlnecker 2000)

Impacts: Various impacts to native species (CABI 2011)

Current U.S. Distribution:

  • Great Lakes; Inland waters throughout Eastern U.S.
    NAS Database map.
    DOI. United States Geological Survey.


Selected Internet Resources:

Federal Government

Alosa pseudoharengus
Integrated Taxonomic Information System.

Alosa pseudoharengus Article Citation Search - AGRICOLA Database
USDA. National Agricultural Library.
Research; Special Note: NAL Catalog Search (resources)

The Natural History of the River Herrings (Alosa pseudoharengus and Alosa aestivalis)
DOI. FWS. Central New England Fishery Resources Office.
Introduction History; Habitat

Fish Facts - Alewife
DOI. FWS. Connecticut River Coordinator's Office.
Identification/Description; Illustrations; Life Cycle; Distribution

Marine Invasive Species: Alosa pseudoharengus (PDF | 298 KB)
DOI. NPS. Natural Resource Program Center.
Photographs; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion

Alosa pseudoharengus - Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database
DOI. USGS. Southeast Ecological Science Center.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Distribution; Special Note: Distribution maps and collection information (State and County)

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State Government

Aquatic Invasive Species - Alewife (PDF | 298 KB)
Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Controls

Alewife (PDF | 17 KB)
New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Illustrations; Life Cycle; Habitat

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Environmental Conservation. Water Quality Division.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Distribution; Controls

Alosa pseudoharengus (Alewife)
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Illustrations; Impacts; Life Cycle

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Alewife - Introduced Species Summary Project
Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Controls

Alewife - Inland Fishes of New York State
Cornell University. Natural Resources.
Identification/Description; Illustrations; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution

Alewife - Fish of the Great Lakes
Wisconsin Sea Grant.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Legal Aspects

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Alewife - Species Summary
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion

Alosa pseudoharengus (fish) - ISSG Global Invasive Species Database
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.
Identification/Description; Impacts; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

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Alosa pseudoharengus
Discover Life.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

Alewife - Lake George Fact Sheet No. 24 (Jan 2010; PDF | 141 KB)
Fund for Lake George (New York).
Photographs; Impacts; Habitat; Distribution; Controls

Lake Champlain Basin Program.
Identification/Description; Illustrations; Impacts; Habitat; Distribution


CAB International. 2011. Datasheets: Alosa pseudoharengus (alewife). Invasive Species Compendium.

Miller, R.R. 1957. Origin and dispersal of the alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus, and the gizzard shad, Dorosoma cepedianum, in the Great Lakes. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 86: 97-111.

Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture. 2007. Species Fact Sheet: Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus).

Stahlnecker, J.F. 2000. Production of juvenile alewives (Alosa pseudoharengus) at two adult alewife stocking rates in two Maine lakes. University of Maine, Orono. 73 pages.

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Last Modified: Jul 01, 2014
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