The general otolith shape is oval and pointed. The sulcus is straight and open and runs along the full length of the otolith, just above the centre of the otolith. Ostium and cauda are distinguishable, and ostium is shorter but wider. The surface of the inside, sulcus and outside is smooth. The dorsal margin has big lobes, while the ventral margin is smooth and rounded. The posterior margin is rounded and indented at the cauda. The rostrum of the otolith is well developed and pointed, while the antirostrum is indistinct. The otolith is thin and flat at the inside and somewhat concave at the outside. Otoliths with length >10 mm are always of greater argentine.
The otoliths of greater argentine are difficult to distinguish from other salmoniformes, such as argentine Argentina sphyraena and smelt Osmerus eperlanus, and atherinidae, such as sand-smelt Atherina presbyter. The sulcus of argentine runs over the centre while in greater argentine has a sulcus that runs higher than the centre of the otolith. The rostrum of the otoliths of greater argentine is more rounded compared to argentine otoliths. Otoliths of smelt are much thicker than the delicate otoliths of argentinidae. The sulcus of argentine and greater argentine is less well developed as in sand-smelt otoliths. Otoliths of sand-smelt have a round rostrum compared to argentinidae and the general shape of the otolith is also much rounder in sand-smelt.
On eroded otoliths, the sulcus and rostrum remain distinct. The margins are smoothed. Otoliths which have gone through a digestive tract of an animal often have the rostrum missing.
Fish length and distribution
Greater argentine can grow up to 60 cm. Greater argentine is a demersal roundfish (ATGESILU.TIF) that is found in continental shelf waters up to 550 m depth living close to the bottom. It spawns from March to May (Wheeler, 1978, Muus et al., 1999).
The greater argentine is found in the Northern Atlantic and Northern North Sea.
Northern North Sea.