Anchovies are the members of the Engraulidae family. They are small or moderate-sized fish, typically below 20 cm. They are recognized by their usually prominent pig-like snout projecting beyond tip of lower jaw and their lower jaw almost always long, slender and underslung. Most Indo-Pacific species have prepelvic and often postpelvic scutes.
Anchovies are found in all seas from about 60°N to 50°S. They are typically marine but can also be found in brackish and freshwater. Most of them inhabit shallow coastal waters and estuaries. They frequently occur in large schools. Most species feed on small planktonic animals either by locating individual prey or by filter-feeding.
There are 17 genera and about 145 species of Engraulidae worldwide. Malaysia has about 6 genera and about 32 species.