Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed on five meristic characters of American shad, Alosa sapidissima, spawning in the Miramichi, St. John, Connecticut, and Hudson rivers. In 71% of the comparisons, significant differences in mean numbers of meristic characters existed between river populations and between tributaries within the St. John River system. Comparisons of populations ... [Show full abstract] using multivariate techniques revealed that percentage of overlap of meristic characters was low (< 1% in most comparisons). It is suggested that shad not only home to their natal river but also to their natal tributary. The results suggest that in shad, meristic counts are strongly influenced by a genetic component.