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Title: Clupea  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Herring, Araucanian herring, Chosa herring, White Sea herring, Clupeidae
Collection: Clupeidae, Commercial Fish
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Temporal range: 55–0Ma

Early Eocene to Present[1]
Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Subclass: Neopterygii
Infraclass: Teleostei
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Clupeidae
Subfamily: Clupeinae
Genus: Clupea
Linnaeus, 1758

see text

Clupea is genus of planktivorous bony fish belonging to the family Clupeidae, commonly known as herrings. They are found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea. Three species of Clupea are recognized. The main taxa, the Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) and the Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) may each be divided into subspecies. Herrings are forage fish moving in vast schools, coming in spring to the shores of Europe and America, where they form important commercial fisheries.


  • Morphology 1
  • Species 2
  • Ecology 3
  • Fisheries 4
  • Sources 5
    • References 5.1


The species of Clupea belong to the larger family Clupeidae (herrings, shads, sardines, menhadens), which comprises some 200 species that share similar features. They are silvery-colored fish that have a single dorsal fin, which is soft, without spines. They have no lateral line and have a protruding lower jaw. Their size varies between subspecies: the Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras) is small, 14 to 18 centimeters; the proper Atlantic herring (C. h. harengus) can grow to about 46 cm (18 inches) and weigh up 700 g (1.5 pounds); and Pacific herring grow to about 38 cm (15 inches).


Clupea species
Common name Scientific name Maximum
Araucanian herring Clupea bentincki Norman, 1936 28.4 cm cm kg years 2.69 [2] [3] [4] Not assessed
Atlantic herring Clupea harengus Linnaeus, 1758 45.0 cm 30.0 cm 1.05 kg 22 years 3.23 [5] [6] [7] LC IUCN 3 1.svg Least concern[8]
    - Atlantic herring     - C. h. harengus Linnaeus, 1758 [9]
    - Baltic herring     - C. h. membras Valenciennes, 1847 [10]
Pacific herring Clupea pallasii Valenciennes, 1847 46.0 cm 25.0 cm 19 years 3.15 [11] [12] [13] Not assessed
    - Pacific herring     - C. p. pallasii Valenciennes, 1847 46.0 cm 25.0 cm [11] -
    - White Sea herring     - C. p. marisalbi L. S. Berg, 1923 34.0 cm [14] -[15]
    - Chosa herring     - C. p. suworowi Rabinerson, 1927 31.5 cm [16] -
Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus)


See Atlantic herring for videos of juvenile herring feeding by catching copepods.

Video loop of a school of Atlantic herring migratiing to their spawning grounds in the Baltic Sea

Predators of herring include humans, seabirds, dolphins, porpoises, striped bass, seals, sea lions, whales, sharks, dog fish, tuna, cod, salmon, and halibut. Other large fish also feed on adult herring.

Young herring feed on zooplankton, tiny animals that are found in oceanic surface waters, and small fish and fish larvae. Copepods and other tiny crustaceans are the most common zooplankton eaten by herring. During daylight herring stay in the safety of deep water, feeding at the surface only at night when there is less chance of being seen by predators. They swim along with their mouths open, filtering the plankton from the water as it passes through their gills.


Commercial herring catch

Adult herring are harvested for their meat and eggs, and they are often used as baitfish. The trade in herring is an important sector of many national economies. In Europe the fish has been called the "silver of the sea", and its trade has been so significant to many countries that it has been regarded as the most commercially important fishery in history.[17] Environmental Defense have suggested that the Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) fishery is one of the more environmentally responsible fisheries.[18]

Medieval herring fishing in Scania, 1555


  • Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). ClupeaSpecies of in FishBase. January 2006 version.
  • O'Clair, Rita M. and O'Clair, Charles E., "Pacific herring," Southeast Alaska's Rocky Shores: Animals. pg. 343-346. Plant Press: Auke Bay, Alaska (1998). ISBN 0-9664245-0-6


  1. ^ Sepkoski, Jack (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology 364: 560. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Clupea bentincki in FishBase. April 2012 version.
  3. ^ (Norman, 1936)Clupea bentincki FAO, Species Fact Sheet. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Clupea bentincki".  
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Clupea harengus in FishBase. April 2012 version.
  6. ^ (Linnaeus, 1758)Clupea harengus FAO, Species Fact Sheet. Retrieved April 2012.
  7. ^ "Clupea harengus".  
  8. ^ Herdson D and Priede I (2011). "Xiphias gladius".  
  9. ^ "Clupea harengus harengus".  
  10. ^ "Clupea harengus membras".  
  11. ^ a b Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). "Clupea pallasii pallasii" in FishBase. April 2012 version.
  12. ^ (Valenciennes, 1847)Clupea pallasii FAO, Species Fact Sheet. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  13. ^ "Clupea pallasii".  
  14. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). "Clupea pallasii marisalbi" in FishBase. April 2012 version.
  15. ^ "Clupea pallasii marisalbi".  
  16. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). "Clupea pallasii suworowi" in FishBase. April 2012 version.: "Status needs confirmation."
  17. ^ Herring, from Census of Marine Life, 2010.
  18. ^ Eco-Best Fish - Safe for the environment, from Environmental Defense Fund, 2010.
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