Understanding the influence of temperature on egg development and larval condition in planktonic fish is a prerequisite to understanding the phenological impacts of climate change on marine food-webs. The lesser sandeel, Ammodytes marinus (Raitt 1934), is a key trophic link between zooplankton and many piscivorous fish, sea birds and mammals in the northeast Atlantic. Temperature-egg development relationships were determined for batches of lesser sandeel eggs. Hatching began as early as 19 days post fertilisation at 11 °C and as late as 36 days post fertilisation at 6 °C, which is faster than egg development rates reported for closely related species at the lower end of the tested temperature range. The average size of newly hatched larvae decreased with increasing incubation temperatures in early hatching larvae, but this effect was lost by the middle of the hatching period. While the study revealed important temperature effects on egg development rate, predicted variability based on the range of temperatures eggs experience in the field, suggests it is only a minor contributor to the observed inter-annual variation in hatch date.