The distribution of egg and larvae of mackerel, horse mackerel, sardine, hake, megrim, blue whiting and anchovy along the European Atlantic waters (south Portugal to Scotland) during 1998 is described. Time of the year, sea surface temperature and bottom depth are used to define the spawning habitat of the different species. Mackerel, horse mackerel, and sardine eggs and larvae presented the widest distribution, whereas megrim and anchovy showed a limited distribution, restricted to the Celtic Sea and the Bay of Biscay respectively. Correspondingly mackerel, horse mackerel and sardine showed the highest aggregation indices. Blue whiting larvae were found at the lowest temperatures, whereas anchovy eggs and larvae were found in the warmest waters. The analysis is a basis for evaluation of ongoing changes in the pelagic ecosystem of the north-east Atlantic.