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

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

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Selected Resources

Native To: Atlantic Ocean (CABI 2012)

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 2012)

Current U.S. Distribution: Great Lakes; Inland waters throughout Eastern U.S.


Selected Resources:


Invasive Species Compendium - Alosa pseudoharengus
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Alosa pseudoharengus (fish)
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.


Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database - Alosa pseudoharengus
DOI. USGS. Southeast Ecological Science Center.
Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County).


Aquatic Invasive Species - Alewife (PDF | 298 KB)
Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Aquatic Invasive Species of the Week - Alewife (Dec 2013; PDF | 348 KB)
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Water Resources Division.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Division of Wildlife.

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Environmental Conservation. Water Quality Division.


Alewife - Introduced Species Summary Project
Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.

Alewife - Inland Fishes of New York State
Cornell University. Natural Resources.

Alewife - Fish of the Great Lakes
Wisconsin Sea Grant.


Species of Concern - Alewife
Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program.

Lake Champlain Basin Program.


CAB International. 2012. Datasheet: Alosa pseudoharengus (alewife). Invasive Species Compendium.

Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Alosa pseudoharengus. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

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: Feb 24, 2015
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