Six species of sand lance (Ammodytes) in temperate and boreal regions are currently recognized. Sand lance can occupy a wide range of environmental conditions, but all appear to be dormant predominantly in winter, and one species is in summer also. They lack a swim bladder and spend much of their time buried in specific substrates. Copepods are the primary food. Spawning usually occurs in fall or winter (although some species also spawn in spring), eggs are demersal, and larvae may hatch at times of low food abundance. Sand lance usually occur in schools and are regarded as a relatively high-quality forage fish. Sand lance constitute a major prey for at least some populations of over 100 species of consumer, including 40 species of birds, 12 species of marine mammals, 45 species of fishes, and some invertebrates. Variation in the availability of sand lance (and other forage fishes) can have major effects on the breeding success and survival of their predators. Commercial fishing and other pressures on sand lance populations potentially have ramifying effects on many species of wildlife. The bibliography contains over 1,700 references on the family Ammodytidae, with an emphasis on the genus Ammodytes. Keywords are provided for each reference and have been further organized into taxonomic, geographic, subject, and predator indexes.
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