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Sardine run in southern Africa

The sardine run of southern Africa occurs from May through July when billions of sardines spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank and move northward along the east coast of South Africa

Sardine-run_sardinerunafrica

Photo credits to www.sardinerunafrica.co.za

The sardines – or more specifically the Southern African pilchard Sardinops sagax –and their sheer numbers create a feeding frenzy along the coastline. The run, containing millions of individual pilchard Sardinops sagax, occurs when a current of cold water heads north from the Agulhas Bank up to Mozambique where it then leaves the coastline and goes further east into the Indian Ocean.

In terms of biomass, researchers estimate the sardine run could rival East Africa’s great wildebeest migration. However, little is known of the phenomenon. It is believed that the water temperature has to drop below 21 °C in order for the migration to take place.

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