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Sprat is the common name applied to a group of forage fish belonging to the genus Sprattus in the family Clupeidae. The term also is applied to a number of other small sprat-like forage fish ( Clupeoides , Clupeonella , Corica , Ehirava , Hyperlophus , Microthrissa , Nannothrissa , Platanichthys , Ramnogaster , Rhinosardinia , and Stolothrissa ). Like most forage fishes, sprats are highly active, small, oily fish. They travel in large schools with other fish and swim continuously throughout the day.
They are recognized for their nutritional value, as they contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats, considered beneficial to the human diet. They are eaten in many places around the world.Sprats are sometimes passed off as other fish; products sold as having been prepared from anchovies (since the 19th century) and others sold as sardines sometimes are prepared from sprats, as the authentic ones once were less accessible. They are known for their smooth flavour and are easy to mistake for baby sardines.
True sprats belong to the genus Sprattus in the family Clupeidae. The five species are:
|Common name||Scientific name||Maximum|
|New Zealand blueback sprat||Sprattus antipodum(Hector 1872)||12.0 cm||9.0 cm||3.0||Not assessed|
|Falkland sprat||Sprattus fuegensis(Blomefield, 1842)||18.0 cm||15.0 cm||3.4||Not assessed|
|New Zealand sprat||Sprattus muelleri(Klunzinger, 1879)||13.0 cm||10.0 cm||3.0||Not assessed|
|Australian sprat||Sprattus novaehollandiae(Valenciennes, 1847)||14.0 cm||3.0||Not assessed|
|European sprat*||Sprattus sprattus(Linnaeus, 1758)||16.0 cm||12.0 cm||6 years||3.0||Not assessed|
* Type species
The term also is commonly applied to a number of other small sprat-like forage fish that share characteristics of the true sprat. Apart from the true sprats, FishBase lists another 48 species whose common names ends with "sprat". Some examples are:
|Common name||Scientific name||Maximum|
|Black and Caspian Sea sprat||Clupeonella cultriventris(Nordmann, 1840)||14.5 cm||10 cm||5 years||3.0||Not assessed|
The average length of time from fertilization to hatching is about 15 days, with environmental factors playing a major role in the size and overall success of the sprat.The development of young larval sprat and reproductive success of the sprat have been largely influenced by environmental factors. Some of these factors affecting the sprat can be seen in the Baltic Sea, where specific gravity, water temperature, depth, and other such factors play a role in their success.
Over the last two decades, the number of sprat has fluctuated, due primarily to availability of zooplankton, a common food source, and also from overall changes in Clupeidae total abundance.Although the overall survival rates of the sprat decreased in the late 1980s and early 1990s, an increase has occurred in the last two decades. Recent studies suggesting a progression in the reproductive success of the sprat acknowledge that a significant increase in spawning stock biomass occurred. One of the main concerns for reproductive success for the sprat include exceedingly cold winters, as cold temperatures, especially in the Baltic Sea, have been known to affect the development of sprat eggs and larvae.
The metabolic rate of the sprat is highly influenced by environmental factors such as water temperature.Several related fish, such as the Atlantic herring (C. harengus), have much lower metabolic rates than that of the sprat. Some of the difference may be due to size differences among the related species, but the most important reason for high levels of metabolism for the sprat is their exceedingly high level of activity throughout the day.
Fish of the different species of sprat are found in various parts of the world including New Zealand, Australia, and parts of Europe. By far, the most highly studied location where sprat, most commonly Sprattus sprattus, reside is the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. The Baltic Sea provides the sprat with a highly diverse environment, with spatial and temporal potential allowing for successful reproduction.
One of the most well-known locations in the Baltic Sea where they forage for their food is the Bornholm Basin, in the southern portion of the Baltic Sea.Although the Baltic Sea has undergone several ecological changes during the last two decades, the sprat has dramatically increased in population. One of the environmental changes that has occurred in the Baltic Sea since the 1980s includes a decrease in water salinity, due to a lack of inflow from the North Sea that contains high saline and oxygen content.
In the Baltic Sea, cod, herring, and sprat are considered the most important species.Cod is the top predator, while the herring and sprat primarily are recognized as prey. This has been proven by many studies that analyze the stomach contents of such fish, often finding contents that immediately signify predation among the species. Although cod primarily feed on adult sprat, sprat tend to feed on cod before the cod have been fully developed. The sprat tends to prey on the cod eggs and larvae. Furthermore, sprat and herring are considered highly competitive for the same resources that are available to them. This is most present in the vertical migration of the two species in the Baltic Sea, where they compete for the limited zooplankton that is available and necessary for their survival.
Sprats are highly selective in their diet and are strict zooplanktivores that do not change their diet as their size increases, like some herring, but include only zooplankton in their diet.They eat various species of zooplankton in accordance to changes in the environment, as temperature and other such factors affect the availability of their food.
During autumn, sprats tend to have a diet high in Temora longicornis and Bosmina maritime. During the winter, their diet includes Pesudocalanus elongates.Pseudocalanus is genus of the order Calanoida and subclass Copepoda that is important to the predation and diet of fish in the Baltic Sea.
In both autumn and winter, a tendency exists for sprats to avoid eating Acartia spp., because they tend to be very small in size and have a high escape response to predators such as the herring and sprat. Although Acartia spp. may be present in large numbers, they also tend to dwell more toward the surface of the water, whereas the sprats, especially during the day, tend to dwell in deeper waters.
In Northern Europe, European sprats are commonly smoked and preserved in oil, which retains a strong, smoky flavor.
Sprat, if smoked, is considered to be one of the foods highest in purine content.People who suffer from gout or high uric acid in the blood should avoid eating such foods.
Most importantly, sprats contain long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They are present in amounts comparable to Atlantic salmon, and up to seven times higher in EPA and DHA than common fresh fillets of gilt-head bream. The sprats contain about 1.43 g/100 g of these polyunsaturated fatty acids that have been found to help prevent mental, neural, and cardiovascular diseases.
Cod is the common name for the demersal fish genus Gadus, belonging to the family Gadidae. Cod is also used as part of the common name for a number of other fish species, and some species suggested to belong to genus Gadus are not called cod.
Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of pelagic fish, mostly from the family Scombridae. They are found in both temperate and tropical seas, mostly living along the coast or offshore in the oceanic environment.
Clupeidae is a family of ray-finned fishes, comprising, for instance, the herrings, shads, sardines, hilsa, and menhadens. The clupeoids include many of the most important food fishes in the world, and are also commonly caught for production of fish oil and fish meal. Many members of the family have a body protected with shiny cycloid scales, a single dorsal fin, and a fusiform body for quick, evasive swimming and pursuit of prey composed of small planktonic animals. Due to their small size and position in the lower trophic level of many marine food webs, the levels of methylmercury they bioaccumulate are very low, reducing the risk of mercury poisoning when consumed.
Herring are forage fish, mostly belonging to the family Clupeidae.
Atlantic herring is a herring in the family Clupeidae. It is one of the most abundant fish species in the world. Atlantic herrings can be found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, congregating in large schools. They can grow up to 45 centimetres (18 in) in length and weigh up to 1.1 kilograms (2.4 lb). They feed on copepods, krill and small fish, while their natural predators are seals, whales, cod and other larger fish.
The European sprat, also known as bristling, brisling, garvie, garvock, Russian sardine, russlet, skipper or whitebait, is a species of small marine fish in the herring family Clupeidae. Found in European waters, it has silver grey scales and white-grey flesh. Specific seas in which the species occurs include the Irish Sea, Black Sea, Baltic Sea and Sea of the Hebrides. The fish is the subject of fisheries, particularly in Scandinavia, and is made into fish meal, as well as being used for human consumption. When used for food it can be canned, salted, breaded, fried, boiled, grilled, baked, deep fried, marinated, broiled, and smoked.
The Black Sea sprat, Clupeonella cultriventris, is a small fish of the herring family, Clupeidae. It is found in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov and rivers of its basins: Danube, Dnister, Dnipro (Ukraine), Southern Bug, Don, Kuban. It has white-grey flesh and silver-grey scales. A typical size is 10 cm The life span is of up to 5 years. The peak of its spawning is in April and it can be found in enormous shoals in sea-shores, filled all-round coastal shallows, moving quickly back in the sea at a depth of 6–30 metres. Used for food; it has around 12% fat in flesh.
The New Zealand blueback sprat is a herring-like, forage fish of the family Clupeidae found in the waters around New Zealand, between latitudes 37° S and 48° S, and longitude 166° E and 180° E, to depths of up to 50 m. It belongs to a genus Sprattus of small oily fish, usually known by their common name, sprats. Its length is up to 12 cm.
Sprattus is a genus of small oily fish of the family Clupeidae. They are more usually known by their common name, sprats. There are five species in the genus.
The New Zealand sprat is a herring-like, marine fish in the family Clupeidae found in the subtropical southwest Pacific Ocean endemic to New Zealand. It belongs to a genus Sprattus of small oily fish, usually known by their common name, sprats.
The Fueguian sprat or Falkland sprat is a herring-like, marine fish in the family Clupeidae found in the subtropical southwest Atlantic Ocean from 40° S to Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands. Its depth range is from the surface to 10 m, and its length is up to 18 cm.
Abrau sprat, Clupeonella abrau, is a species of freshwater fish in the family Clupeidae. It is found landlocked in Russia in a single locality, Lake Abrau, located at 70 m above sea level near the Black Sea coast close to Novorossiysk. The lake is small and has been stocked by several alien species, whence the Abrau sprat is considered critically endangered.
Clupeonella is a genus of fish in the family Clupeidae. They are widespread in the fresh and brackish waters of the Caspian Sea and Black drainages.
Forage fish, also called prey fish or bait fish, are small pelagic fish which are preyed on by larger predators for food. Predators include other larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Typical ocean forage fish feed near the base of the food chain on plankton, often by filter feeding. They include particularly fishes of the family Clupeidae, but also other small fish, including halfbeaks, silversides, smelt such as capelin and goldband fusiliers.
The M74 syndrome is a reproduction disorder of salmon feeding in the Baltic Sea. M74 manifests as offspring mortality during the yolk-sac fry phase. Before dying, the yolk-sac fry display typical symptoms. Thiamine deficiency in eggs is the immediate cause of M74 mortality. The deficiency can be prevented by thiamine treatments. For the first time Bulgarian research team opines that with M74 syndrome are affected also male gametes and worsened parameters of the spermograme. The use of Bulgarian semen protective media 49282, 49283 and 49397 for trout sperm fertility improving was proposed.
Caspian tyulka, Clupeonella caspia, is a species of fish in the family Clupeidae. It is found in the Caspian Sea, also in the lower reaches of the rivers Volga, Ural, and possibly Terek. This is a brackishwater pelagic-neritic fish, up to 12 cm maximum length.
The freshwater tyulka is a species of fish in the herring family Clupeidae. It is found in the Caspian Sea watersheds, including the lower reaches of the rivers Volga and Ural. It was introduced to the Don River basin and is also invasive upstream in the Volga drainage. It is a small freshwater pelagic fish, up to 10 cm maximal length, inhabiting large lakes and reservoirs, and breeding in open water. Earlier it was considered to be a part of the species Clupeonella cultriventris.
Clupea is genus of planktivorous bony fish belonging to the family Clupeidae, commonly known as herrings. They are found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea. Three species of Clupea are recognized. The main taxa, the Atlantic herring and the Pacific herring may each be divided into subspecies. Herrings are forage fish moving in vast schools, coming in spring to the shores of Europe and America, where they form important commercial fisheries.
Clupeonella muhlisi is a species of clupeid fish endemic to Lake Uluabat in Turkey, linked to the Sea of Marmara.
Temora longicornis is a species of copepod in the family Temoridae. It is found in marine environments on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.