shad, fish of the genus Alosa, family Clupeidae (herring family), found in North America, Europe, and the Mediterranean. The American shad, A. sapidissima, is one of the largest (6 lb/2.7 kg average) of the herrings and has delicious but bony flesh; its roe is valued as a delicacy. It is found along the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland to Florida and successfully introduced on the Pacific coast.Shad ascend rivers to spawn in the spring. Water pollution and overfishing have cut down their numbers. Named for its muscular gizzardlike stomach, the American gizzard shad, Dorosoma cepedianum, is a swift, silvery fish, 1 ft (30 cm) long, found along the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to Texas and up the Mississippi to the Great Lakes. Shads and gizzard shads are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Clupeiformes, family Clupeidae.
See J. McPhee, The Founding Fish (2002).
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