Latin name

Sprattus sprattus

Other names

Bristling, brisling, garvie, garvock, Russian sardine, russlet, skipper or whitebait.


Characterised by strongly developed keel-shaped scales. The keel extends from the throat to the anal fin, and the belly is compressed from the sides. 


Inhabits the Baltic and Black Seas, also in the North and Norwegian Seas. 


Pelagic, gregarious fish. Usually found in schools near the shore, sometimes entering estuaries (especially juveniles) and tolerating salinity up to 4 ppb. 


The average size of commercially caught fish is 6-13 centimetres, but there are specimens 13-15 centimetres long. 

Life history and Behavior

Shows strong migrations between winter feeding grounds and summer spawning grounds. Rises to the surface at night. 

Food and feeding habits

The diet consists mainly of planktonic crustaceans (zooplankton) and fry.


It spawns between May and August. She lays her eggs at a depth of 10-20 m and produces 6000-14000 pelagic eggs. Juveniles drift close to the shore.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Clupeiformes
Family Clupeidae
Genus Sprattus
Species S. sprattus
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years 6
Maximum body weight, kg 0,012
Maximum length, cm 15
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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European sprat

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