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Herrings: Clupeiformes

Physical Characteristics

The herring group includes herrings, menhadens (men-HAY-dens), pilchards (PILL-churds), sardines, shads, sprats, and anchovies. Herrings are small and have streamlined bodies that aid them in swimming fast in open water. The smallest herring is the Sanaga pygmy herring, with a length of only about three-fourths inch (2.1 centimeters). Male wolf herrings are the largest herring, with an average length of 39 inches (100 centimeters). Herrings have dark shading on the back and bright silvery sides. Except for the head, the body is completely covered in large scales. Only one type of herring has a lateral (LAT-uhr-uhl) line, the series of pores and tiny tubes along each side of a fish's body used for sensing vibrations. Many herrings have a row of spiny, ridged scales along the midline of the belly.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesHerrings: Clupeiformes - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Bay Anchovy (anchoa Mitchilli): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HERRINGS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS