• Family: Clupeidae (Herrings and Shads)
• Other Names: Shad, saw bellies
• Ohio Status: No special status
• Adult Size: Typically 5-7 inches, can reach 9 inches.
• Typical Foods: Feeds by filtering microscopic animals and algae (plankton) by passing water through their gill rakers. Can also feed on detritus (organic ooze) off the bottom when plankton abundance is low.
Threadfin shad are a deep bodied fish that is laterally compressed (nearly flat when lying on their side). They have a bright silver body with some yellow on the fins, particularly the tail. There is a dark spot just behind the gill openings on the upper sides. They have a small terminal (ending at tip of snout) mouth that does not extend much beyond the front edge of the eye. The dorsal fin is positioned directly above the pelvic fins and they, like other Dorosoma sp., have a greatly extended last dorsal ray that extends about as far back as the rear edge of the anal fin. Their belly comes to a point with a single row of scales folded over the edge. This gives their belly a sharp saw like edge. Threadfin shad differ from the closely related gizzard shad by having a longer extension of the last dorsal ray, yellow coloration in the tail and fins, and a terminal mouth.
Habitat and Habits
Threadfin shad are found in pools of large rivers and in lakes and reservoirs of the south central U.S. and along the gulf coast into Mexico. The southern edge of Ohio is at the northern edge of the range for this species. They are only found in the Ohio River in the vicinity of Cincinnati Ohio and are far outnumbered by the closely related gizzard shad.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Threadfin shad spawn in May or June by broadcasting eggs over submerged objects such as rocks or logs in shallow water. No parental care is given to the eggs or young.