• Black Sea sprat

Latin name

Clupeonella cultriventris

Other names

No information


Body strongly compressed at the sides; well-developed ventral keel consisting of 24-29 (average 27) scales. Head elongated and broad. The upper jaw of the small mouth extends beyond the vertical of the anterior margin of the eye. Dorsal fin has 14-17 rays (average 15, first 3-4 rays unbranched); anal fin 17-21 (average 18, first 3 rays unbranched); gill rays 49-62 (average 54); vertebrae 41-43 (average 42), including caudal vertebrae 23-26 (average 25). Colouration of dorsal surface from grey-greenish to bluish-green, ventral surface silvery white or golden yellow.


It inhabits the Caspian and Azov Seas and can be found in the lower reaches of the Terek, Volga, Ural and Black Sea basins.


They are gregarious pelagic fish. They can be found in fresh water.


Length up to 15 cm, weight up to 22 g. Average length for males 8 cm, females 9 cm.

Life history and Behavior

In the Sea of Azov it makes regular spawning and feeding migrations. In spring it enters freshwater areas to spawn, in summer it disperses throughout the sea and spends the winter in calm waters far from the coast.

Food and feeding habits

Feeds on small zooplankton: Copepoda and Cladocera and Mysida.


They become sexually mature when they reach a length of 5 centimetres and live up to 4-5 years. They spawn from April to August. Spawning takes place in estuaries in the north-western part of the Black Sea and in the Dnieper and Danube rivers. Females spawn from 2.3 to 2.8 thousand eggs at water temperatures from 4-5 to 24°C and salinities from 0 to 10‰, mostly up to 7‰. Spawning peaks in May at water temperatures of 15-18°C. Pelagic eggs develop in the surface layers of the water. Eggs with fat droplets and large perivitelline space; diameter 0.8-1.05 mm. Development lasts 98 h at 10°C, 62 h at 14°C, 33 h at 18°C and 25 h at 20°C. The larvae are 1.8-1.9 mm long. The yolk sac is 3.8-4 mm long. 

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Clupeiformes
Family Ehiravidae
Genus Clupeonella
Species C. cultriventris
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years No information
Maximum body weight, kg 0,022
Maximum length, cm 15
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Non-predatory

Write a comment

Note: HTML is not translated!
    Bad           Good

Black Sea sprat

Tags: black sea sprat