We analyze the spatial and temporal distributions of E. encarsicolus and S. aurita eggs and larvae, from plankton collections made in Catalan coastal waters (Western Mediterranean) from 1983 to 1985, in order to compare their spawning strategies. The spawning period of gilt sardine begins in early summer after peak spawning of anchovy when surface water reaches the maximum temperature (23-26ºC). Both species end their reproductive period by October. Anchovy eggs and larvae were widely distributed over the area, with greatest concentrations near the outer limit of the shelf. In contrast, gilt sardine eggs and larvae showed a markedly coastal distribution mainly limited to the southern half of the area.