MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Sprat (Sprattus sprattus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

Sprattus sprattus grows up to 16 cm in length. It is shiny silver to grey in colour. It has a very forked tail and small and angular anal and dorsal fins. The dorsal fin is directly above the pelvic fin. The head is small and the lower jaw is upturned and projects slightly.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found all around the coasts of Britain and Ireland but few records exist for the western coasts of Ireland and Scotland.

Global distribution

-

Habitat

Sprat is a pelagic schooling fish usually found in inshore waters, sometimes entering estuaries to salinity values as low as 4. It can also be found down to a depth of up to 150 m.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Lower jaw projects slightly.
  • Bony radiating grooves on the gill cover are absent.
  • Teeth rarely present on vomer.
  • Strong keel of scutes on underside.
  • Six pelvic finrays (occasionally 7).
  • Insertion of fin under or before the dorsal fin origin, last two anal finrays not enlarged.
  • Dark spots on flanks absent.

Additional information

Sprat may be confused with juvenile herring. The relative positions of dorsal and pelvic fins, the grey rather than blue coloration on the dorsal side and the sharply toothed ventral keel are, however, clear distinguishing features.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line] http://www.fishbase.org, 2008-02-18

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  3. Knijn, R.J., Boon, T.W., Heesen, H.J.L & Hislop, J.R.G., 1993. Atlas of North Sea Fishes. ICES cooperative research reports. ICES 194., Copenhagen

  4. Whitehead, P.J.P. 1985. Clupeoid Fishes of the World: An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of the Herrings, Sardines, Pilchards, Sprats, Shads, Anchovies and Wolf-herring; Part 1 - Chirocentridae, Clupeidae and Pristigasteridae. FAO, 125. Rome, Italy.

  5. Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.-C., Nielson, J. & Tortonese, E. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Vol. I, II & III. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Datasets

  1. Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre, 2017. BRERC species records recorded over 15 years ago. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/h1ln5p accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  2. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset https://www.nmni.com/CEDaR/CEDaR-Centre-for-Environmental-Data-and-Recording.aspx accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-25.

  3. Cofnod – North Wales Environmental Information Service, 2018. Miscellaneous records held on the Cofnod database. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/hcgqsi accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  4. Environmental Records Information Centre North East, 2018. ERIC NE Combined dataset to 2017. Occurrence dataset: http://www.ericnortheast.org.uk/home.html accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-38

  5. Fife Nature Records Centre, 2018. St Andrews BioBlitz 2014. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/erweal accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  6. Isle of Wight Local Records Centre, 2017. IOW Natural History & Archaeological Society Marine Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/7axhcw accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  7. Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre, 2017. Fish: Records for Kent.. Occurrence dataset https://doi.org/10.15468/kd1utk accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  8. Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Kent Wildlife Trust Shoresearch Intertidal Survey 2004 onwards. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.

  9. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/iou2ld accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  10. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  11. North East Scotland Biological Records Centre, 2017. NE Scotland fish records 1800-2010. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/kjrwnd accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  12. OBIS,  2018. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2018-11-17

  13. Record, 2018. RECORD Freshwater Fish Data. Occurrence dataset https://doi.org/10.15468/m5tosv accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01

  14. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Fish (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/htsfiy accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Sprattus sprattus Sprat. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 17-11-2018]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/82

Last Updated: 07/04/2008