name = Alewife

image_width = 250px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Actinopterygii
ordo = Clupeiformes
familia = Clupeidae
genus = "Alosa"
subgenus = "(Pomolobus)"
species = "A. (P.) pseudoharengus"
binomial = "Alosa (Pomolobus) pseudoharengus"
binomial_authority = (Wilson, 1811)

The alewife ("Alosa pseudoharengus") is a species of herring. There are anadromous and landlocked forms. The landlocked form is also called a sawbelly or mooneye (although this latter name is more commonly applied to "Hiodon" spp.). The front of the body is deep and larger than other fish found in the same waters, and its common name is said to come from comparison with a corpulent female tavernkeeper ("ale-wife"). [Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition] In Atlantic Canada it is known as the gaspereau. More locally, in southwestern Nova Scotia it is called a kiack (or kyack). [ [ Nova Scotia Fisheries: Alewife] ] This fish has, in the past, been used as a baitfish for the lobster fishing industry. It is also used for human consumption, usually smoked. It is caught (during its migration up stream) using large dip nets to scoop the fish out of shallow, constricted areas on its migratory streams and rivers. It is one of the "typical" North American shads of the subgenus "Pomolobus". (Faria "et al." 2006)

In the North American Great Lakes

Alewives are perhaps best known for their invasion of the Great Lakes by using the Welland Canal to bypass Niagara Falls. Alewives colonized the Great Lakes and became abundant mostly in lakes Huron and Michigan. They reached their peak abundance by the 1950s and 1960s. Alewives grew in number unchecked because of the lack of a top predator in the lakes (lake trout were essentially wiped out around the same time by overfishing and the invasion of the Atlantic sea lamprey). For a time, alewives, which often exhibit seasonal die offs, washed up in windrows on the shorelines of the Great Lakes. Their control was the impetus for the introduction of various Pacific Salmon species (first coho, and later the chinook salmon) to act as predators on them. This caused the development of a salmon/alewife fish community, popular with many sport anglers. Alewives, however, have been implicated in the decline of many native Great Lakes species through competition and predation.


* (2006): A molecular phylogenetic perspective on the evolutionary history of "Alosa" spp. (Clupeidae). "Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution" 40(1): 298–304. doi|10.1016/j.ympev.2006.02.008 (HTML abstract)


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alewife — ist der Name von: Alewife (Maine), einer Ortschaft im US Bundesstaat Maine Alewife Cove, einer Bucht im US Bundesstaat Connecticut Alewife Pond (Maine), eines Sees im US Bundesstaat Maine Alewife Pond (New York), eines Sees im US Bundesstaat New… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alewife — Ale wife , n.; pl. {Alewives}. A woman who keeps an alehouse. Gay. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Alewife — Ale wife , n.; pl. {Alewives}. [This word is properly aloof, the Indian name of a fish. See Winthrop on the culture of maize in America, Phil Trans. No. 142, p. 1065, and Baddam s Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 131.] (Zo[ o]l.) A North American fish… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • alewife — (n.) herring like fish of North America, 1630s, named from the word for female tavern keepers (late 14c.), from ALE (Cf. ale) + WIFE (Cf. wife); the fish so called in reference to its large abdomen …   Etymology dictionary

  • alewife — [āl′wīf΄] n. pl. alewives [āl′wīvz΄] 1. a woman who keeps an alehouse ☆ 2. [< ?] a NW Atlantic clupeid fish ( Alosa pseudoharengus) that swims up rivers to spawn in the spring: used for food and in fertilizers …   English World dictionary

  • alewife — alewife1 /ayl wuyf /, n., pl. alewives. a North American fish, Alosa pseudoharengus, resembling a small shad. [1625 35, Amer.; earlier allowes, perh. influenced by ALEWIFE2, prob. < F alose shad < Gallo Latin alausa] alewife2 /ayl wuyf /, n., pl …   Universalium

  • alewife — noun (plural alewives) a NW Atlantic fish of the herring family, swimming up rivers to spawn. [Alosa pseudoharengus.] Origin C17: perh. from earlier alewife woman who keeps an alehouse , with ref. to the fish s large belly …   English new terms dictionary

  • alewife — I ale•wife [[t]ˈeɪlˌwaɪf[/t]] n. pl. wives ich a North American fish, Alosa pseudoharengus, similar to a shad • Etymology: 1625–35, amer.; earlier allowes, perh. influenced by alewife II, prob. < F alose shad < Gallo Latin alausa II… …   From formal English to slang

  • alewife — silkinė perpelė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Alosa pseudoharengus angl. alewife; gray herring rus. сероспинка; элевайф ryšiai: platesnis terminas – perpelės …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • alewife — I. noun Date: 15th century a woman who keeps an alehouse II. noun (plural alewives) Etymology: perhaps alteration of obsolete allowes, a kind of shad, from French alose shad, from Old French, from Late Latin alausa Date: 1633 a food fish (Alosa… …   New Collegiate Dictionary