Teeth in the lower jaw obsolete: infra-orbitals and gill-covers not veined: dorsal further back than in the Herring; the ventrals beneath its anterior margin: keel of the abdomen serrated: anal with eighteen rays.
C. Sprattus, Bloch, Ichth. pl. 29. f. 2. Turt. Brit. Faun. p. 107. Sprattus, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 221. Sprat, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. in. p. 346. Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 457. Melet, Esprot ou Harenguet, Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 318.
Proportions nearly the same as those of the adult Herring, but the depth (equalling one-fifth of the entire length, caudal included) considerably greater than in a young Herring of the same length: keel of the abdomen more sharply serrated than in that species: teeth in the lower jaw more obsolete, scarcely sensible to the touch: subopercle of nearly the same form; but the veins on the infra-orbitals and preopercle not so distinct: scales larger: dorsal placed a little further back, commencing at the middle point between the end of the snout and the base of the caudal fork: ventrals, in consequence, relatively more forward, being slightly in advance of a vertical line from the first dorsal ray: number of fin-rays,
D. 17; A. 18; C. 19, &c; P. 16; V. 1.
Number of vertebrae forty-eight.
* Vol. v. pp. 279, and 382. E E 2
This species has by many authors been confounded with the young of the Herring. Pennant was the first to point out its true distinguishing characters. It is very abundant in the Thames during the Winter, entering the river (according to Pennant) in the beginning of November, and leaving it in March. It is also found on other parts of the coast, but not every-where in plenty. Mr. Couch states *, that he never saw above one specimen of the true Sprat in Cornwall; though the Cornish fishermen apply this name to the young of both the Herring and the Pilchard.