ISSN 10630740, Russian Journal of Marine Biology, 2015, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp. 167–175. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2015.
The European sprat
1758) is one of the most common clupeid fish species
in the European seas. It is widespread in the North
eastern Atlantic Ocean, including: the Baltic Sea, the
North Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.
Based on the differences in the numbers of postpelvic
scutes within the species, it was divided into three sub
Sprattus sprattus balticus
(from the Baltic Sea, the average number of postpel
vic scutes less than 11.5),
S. sprattus phalericus
1827) (from Mediterranean and Black seas, the aver
age number less or equal to 11.3) and
S. sprattus sprat
(Linnaeus, 1758) (other areas, the average number
more than 11.5) [1, 51].
On the other hand, there are some remarks that
show the aforementioned division into subspecies is
The European sprat is a pelagic fish that preys on
planktonic crustaceans. Its average length is about
12 cm but some specimens may grow up to 16 cm.
Although it is a marine species, it tolerates waters with
low salinity (as low as 4‰). It migrates between winter
feeding and summer spawning areas. The juvenile
stage tends to drift inshore. It also undertakes vertical
migrations during a daynight cycle .
The article is published in the original.
The species is also of great economic importance
for many countries. Approximately 110767 tons of fish
are caught per year in the Polish Economic Zone (Bal
tic and lagoons), including 51% (56490 tons) of Euro
pean sprat. Mostly they undergo further processing for
human consumption but some of them are being
exported to foreign countries to become fishmeal .
This has been dealt with in many studies, which
resulted in the thorough knowledge about the species.
Because of the threat they may pose to humans, the
parasites of sprat are of particular interest.
Although, 40 taxa of parasites have been describes
in the European sprat, in different parts of the world
the state of research of this fish parasitofauna is uneven
(see pages 168
171). In addition, the knowledge
about the sprat’s parasite fauna in the southern Baltic
sprat is insufficient. Parasites of
this water basin had been studied only occasionally
[16, 25, 39, 40].
The ultimate goal of the current research was to
investigate parasitic fauna of European sprats col
lected from the Gulf of Gda sk (the southern Baltic
Sea). The new findings have been indicated and
MATERIALS AND METHODS
In 2009 and 2011, a total of 187 (102 , 74 ,
11 indet.) European sprat specimens (2.0–14.3 g,
Endoparasitic Helminths of the European Sprat,
(Linnaeus, 1758) from the Gulf of Gdan
sk (the Southern Baltic Sea)
with a Checklist of Its Parasites
M. Skrzypczak and L. Rolbiecki
Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Parasitology, University of Gda sk, Wita Stwosza 59, 80308 Gdan
Received March 20, 2014
is a common fish across the European seas. It is of great importance for
fishing industry, also in the southern Baltic Sea. Although parasitic fauna of the species has already been a
subject of interest, it is still not very well explored in the southern Baltic Sea. In 2009 and 2011, 187 specimens
of the European sprat from the Gulf of Gda sk (26 ICES subdivision) were examined for the presence of par
asites. The parasites found represented Digenea:
(Rudolphi, 1802) and Nematoda:
(Rudolphi, 1802) and
spp. The overall prevalence was 3.2% with the
mean intensity of 1.0 and abundance of 0.005. The parasite fauna of the European sprat from the southern
Baltic Sea is poorly diversified and infection rates are low in comparison to other European seas. A checklist
of parasites in European sprat worldwide is also provided.
: European sprat, Gulf of Gda sk, parasites, southern Baltic Sea,