The 2nd ID seems much likelier having taken in Nightfly's points
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I'm not sure those scales are large enough for pilchard. The pattern and size is much more reminiscent of herring I have looked at closely and compared with pilchards. One other thing I noticed when comparing the 2 species was the slender body of the herring when looked at from above as compared to the rounder pilchard. Build/slenderness may depend on how well nourished they are to an extent but the pilchards invariably tended to be a lot broader than the herring. Just mentioning that because the above fish in the 2nd pic seem very slender and the scale pattern appears herring like also.
I dont know about the tail thing, I don't recall a massive difference in the tails but maybe I missed that detail.
Last point- all Ive said rests upon me being correct that the 2 fish we were catching were herring and pilchard, I think they were, did a bit of researching at the time to clarify the IDs. Scale size was a real big difference and pilchard scales were really big.
One reason I went for pilchard is the scales seemed bigger on mine than in Nick Upton's at http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/290220 , but putting them side by side they don't look so different. The other was so many netpics of about same 'scale' ,such as http://content60.eol.org/content/2011/11/01/16/20696_orig.jpg & http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.php?ID=1350 eg the 2 top left seem about the same. Also http://doris.ffessm.fr/fiches_liste_recherche.asp?touslesmots=Sardina+pi... .But I did notice some with bigger scales...
[Also http://eol.org/pages/213922/details , at bottom (diagnostic details) says of pilchard " belly rather rounded (but more compressed in juveniles)"]
Theyre not the easiest of fish to seperate from pics. Juveniles possibly makes a bit trickier again. I wondered last night about how you can be sure you havent actually seen Sprats(Sprattus sprattus) when you think youve seen herring juveniles. Then found a comparison diagram of Sprattus sprattus v Clupea harengus. Herring has a deep slit in the centre of the tail even deeper than the concave V, while sprat just has the V. Cant find that drawing just now, will try again later.
Having had adult pilchard and herring together really was the only way to appreciate the subtle differences but having been able to compare them and having had a good look I think I'd know them from each other in the future. The scale size was the big thing. The difference was so significant it gave the surface of the fish very different appearances.
I'm quite sure your fish are the same as these one I saw last August and I think mine were young herring. Look at the birds eye views and the colour, scale pattern and scale size and width of fish are identical. I didnt see any large scaled pilchard on that occasion but having seen both species together the previous winter my friend and I concluded that these late summer/early Autumn regular visitors were most likely young herring as local people have always called them. At this stage I must admit, I do not know how to prove they are not sprats??? More later.
I'd have to go through my pics of them and try to find a clear shot of the deep notch in the middle of the 'V' in the tail which indicates herring and not sprat.
Compare http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/content/media/MBA_... (the title page) & http://www.superstock.com/preview.asp?image=4273-15200&imagex=4 . There seems a gt difference in scale size. However in the 2nd the top fishes scales look as large but the bottom fish much smaller. I remain puzzled
As far as I can see Chris in that superstock image there are 2 species being given the scientific name Sardina pilchardus. Its actually a very useful image as you have the 2 scale sizes together. Calling them both sardines is ok and thats one thing, but to call them both Sardina pilchardus is wrong. The small scaled fish is probably Clupea harengus witha a chance it might even be Sprattus sprattus.
Cant blow it up but I think Im seeing 2 pilchard at the top and 3 herring at the bottom. The large scales are very clear on the top fish and they dont decrease that much in size over the dorsal area as in many other fish species. Good pic. I find it hard to trust titles on many of these images online, unless it comes from a very reliable source then errors are rife. So much so that, as has been said many times on iSpot by many people, internet titles of species under photos are often just misleading and confusing.
I take your points, Cathal. I've added a 2nd example from Worms head, I believe same fish, but can see the 'face', which doesn't have on gill cover the radiating lines of a Sardina.Also found container for 1st pics; the fish were about 5cm, but judging from the net in 2nd pic about 15/16cm.So now I'm wondering whether sprat or herring.
Interesting that you should mention the differrences in gill plates Chris. That was one of the differences I found when I had herring and pilchard to hand. The unfortunate thing is the photos I took at the time simply dont convey what I observed. I should add the difference was quite subtle but all differences between these species are quite subtle with the exception of scale size. I will post a few of those pics soon, for what they are worth.
Another thing that I noticed with these fish and I'm sure you did too is the tendency for the scales to come off- in quite a few pics of clupidae the scales are completely gone. A scale-less herring and a fresh well scaled one could appear to be different types of fish.
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