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Sprattus sprattus  (Linnaeus, 1758)

European sprat
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| Native range | All suitable habitat | PointMap | Year 2100 |
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Sprattus sprattus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Sprattus sprattus (European sprat)
Sprattus sprattus
Picture by Svensen, E.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Clupeiformes (Herrings) > Clupeidae (Herrings, shads, sardines, menhadens) > Clupeinae
Etymology: Sprattus: Old German, sprotte (1611) = a small fish, Clupea sp. (Ref. 45335).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; brackish; pelagic-neritic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 10 - 150 m (Ref. 6302).   Temperate; 66°N - 30°N, 11°W - 42°E

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 11.5, range 8 - 12 cm
Max length : 16.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 188); common length : 12.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 188); max. reported age: 6 years (Ref. 3561)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 13-21; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 12 - 23. Lower jaw slightly projecting, gill cover without any bony radiating striae, teeth rarely present on vomer; belly with a strong keel of scutes; last two anal fin rays not enlarged. No dark spots on flanks. Pterotic bulla absent.

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Northeast Atlantic: North Sea and adjacent waters as far north as the Lofoten Area and the west of the British Isles, and Baltic Sea south to Morocco; also in northern Mediterranean (Gulf of Lion and the Adriatic Sea) and Black Sea.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Usually inshore schooling, sometimes entering estuaries (especially the juveniles) and tolerating salinities as low as 4 ppt. Shows strong migrations between winter feeding and summer spawning grounds. Moves to the surface at night. Feeds on planktonic crustaceans (Ref. 9900). Spawns at depths of 10-20 m producing 6,000-14,000 pelagic eggs (Ref. 35388). Some spawn almost throughout the year, mainly in spring and summer, near the coast or up to 100 km out to sea, the young drifting inshore. Sold as 'brislings' to canneries. Sprat are used in the production of fish meal and as mink food, less for human consumption (Ref. 9900). Utilized fresh, smoked, canned and frozen; can be pan-fried and broiled (Ref. 9988).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Whitehead, P.J.P., 1985. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 7. Clupeoid fishes of the world (suborder Clupeioidei). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the herrings, sardines, pilchards, sprats, shads, anchovies and wolf-herrings. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(7/1):1-303. Rome: FAO.

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 30911)




Human uses

Fisheries: highly commercial; bait: usually
FAO(fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FIRMS (Stock assessments) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on empirical models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5312   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=-2.19000 (nan - nan), b=3.03 (2.96 - 3.10), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.0   ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (rm=1.7; K=0.14-0.77; tm=1-2; tmax=6; Fec=2,000 (batch fec)).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low vulnerability (25 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.