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Clupeonella cultriventris  (Nordmann, 1840)

Black and Caspian Sea sprat
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Native range | All suitable habitat | Point map | Year 2100
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Clupeonella cultriventris   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Clupeonella cultriventris (Black and Caspian Sea sprat)
Clupeonella cultriventris
Picture by Otel, V.

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) > Ehiravinae
Etymology: Clupeonella: Latin, clupea = sardine, derived from Clupeus = shield; diminutive (Ref. 45335);  cultriventris: "cultiventris" is taken from the Latin word, culter, meaning to cultivate. The ventral area of this fish is in the shape of a coulter, a vertical iron cutting blade fixed in front of a ploughshare (Ref. 72389).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; pelagic-neritic; anadromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 10 - 13 m (Ref. 10535).   Temperate, preferred 14°C (Ref. 107945); 60°N - 36°N, 27°E - 56°E

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

Eurasia: Black Sea (northwestern parts), Sea of Azov and Caspian Sea, also most of the affluent rivers of the area, reaching as far as 60 km inland. Also, Lake Palaeostomi (Bulgaria) and in Bay of Feodosiya (Romania), also Lake Apolyont (Turkey) (Ref. 188). Previously, two subspecies were recognized by some: Clupeonella cultriventris cultriventris (Nordmann, 1840) from the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and Clupeonella cultriventris caspia (Svetovidov, 1941) from the Caspian Sea (Ref. 26334, 39702).

Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 14.5 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 72389); common length : 10.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 188); max. reported age: 5 years (Ref. 10535)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 13-21; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 12 - 23. Head short and wide; belly sharply keeled, with 24 to 29 scutes; pectoral fin tips pointed; last 2 anal fin rays enlarged; pterotic bulla absent; no notch at the center of the upper jaw. Based on pelvic and pectoral fin length, Svetovidov (1952 and 1963) recognized 2 subspecies: C. cultriventris cultriventris with longer pectoral and pelvic fins compared to that of C. cultriventris caspia.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Essentially a brackish water species but tolerating salinities up to 34 ppt and with semi-anadromous and purely freshwater forms in rivers and lakes. Forms schools. Migratory between winter or autumn feeding and summer spawning grounds. Feeds on zooplankton (Ref. 188); crustaceans such as copepods and cladocerans (Ref. 59043). Breeds in early summer in the Sea of Azov with a peak in May, and from about May in the lower reaches of rivers (e.g. Dneiper and Dneister) (Ref. 188). Eggs are pelagic (Ref. 59043).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

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. (Ref. 188)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

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

More information

Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
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Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins
Swim. type
Gill area


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