Herring Facts

Herring Facts
Herring is a marine fish that belongs to the family Clupeidae. This family includes around 200 species of fish. People are most familiar with three species of herring: Atlantic, Pacific and Araucanian herring. They inhabit temperate waters of Pacific and Atlantic oceans and represent 90% of herrings that are used in human diet. Certain populations of herrings are threatened by overfishing and pollution of the sea, but they are still not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Herring Facts:
Size of herring depends on the species. Large specimens can reach 18 inches in length and weigh up to 1.5 pounds.
Herrings are known as the “silver of the sea” due to silver color of the body and highly appreciated meat (which ensures profitable fish trade). Upper part of the body is bluish, and their bottom side is pale. Specific coloration of the body ensures camouflage in the water.
Herring has elongated body that is tapering on both ends. It has small head with protruding lower jaw. Herring does not have visible lateral line. Tail is shaped like fork.
Unlike other species of fish, herrings do not have bony but soft fins.
Diet of herrings consists of phyto- and zooplankton. They consume small copepods, worms, krill, fish eggs and larvae of snails and mollusks.
Herrings are filter feeders. They swim with wide open mouth and swallow water with plankton. Food stays in the mouth and water is eliminated via gills.
Herrings are nocturnal creatures (active during the night). They spend most of the day in deeper parts of the sea, where they are hiding from the predators.
Main predators of herrings are sea birds, dolphins, killer whales, sea lions, seals and large fish such as tuna, salmon and various types of sharks.
Herring is important part of human diet because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
Herrings swim in large groups called schools. They can consist of billions of herrings.
Herrings spawn at different time during the year, depending on the species and temperature of water.
Females release from 20 000 to 40 000 eggs into the water. They will be fertilized with sperm cells released by males. This type of fertilization is called external.
Fertilized eggs are small (0.039 to 0.055 inches), they fall to the bottom of the sea and attach to the stones and sea vegetation. Incubation time lasts from 11 to 40 days, depending on the temperature (higher temperature accelerates development).
Larvae have transparent bodies and they are only 0.20 to 0.24 inches long. In the first days of life, larvae use leftovers of yolk as a source of food. At the length of 1.6 inches, larvae look like miniature versions of adult fish. Young fish will reach sexual maturity at the age of 3 to 9 years.
Herrings can survive from 12 to 16 years in the wild.

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