Sandy Sprat, Hyperlophus vittatus (Castelnau 1875)

Other Names: Glassy, White Pilchard, Whitebait

Sandy Sprats, Hyperlophus vittatus, in Nelson Bay, New South Wales. Source: Dave Harasti / License: All rights reserved

A silvery sprat with a broad midlateral stripe, a single short-based dorsal fin at the midbody, the anal fin commencing about one eye diameter behind the rear of the dorsal-fin base, pelvic fins below the dorsal fin, a deeply forked tail, and scales compressed into a serrated keel along the ventral midline.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Hyperlophus vittatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

Sandy Sprat, Hyperlophus vittatus (Castelnau 1875)

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Moreton Bay, Queensland, around southern Australia, to Kalbarri, Western Australia. Forms schools in coastal waters, inhabiting shallow sandy areas and seagrass beds in bays and estuaries.


Dorsal fin 12-18; Anal fin 16-27; Dorsal scutes 23-27; Branchiostegal rays 4. 
Body fairly elongate, belly keeled; dorsal scutes with low keels from head to dorsal-fin origin. Second supra-maxilla paddle-shaped, lower portion larger. Anal fin origin one eye diameter or more behind base of last dorsal-fin ray. Scales more or less firm on body.


The specific name is from the Latin vittatus (= banded) in reference to the silver midlateral stripe.

Species Citation

Meletta vittatus Castelnau 1875, Researches on the fishes of Australia in, Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 : Official Record: 46. Type locality: Hobson's Bay, Victoria


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Sandy Sprat, Hyperlophus vittatus (Castelnau 1875)


Castelnau, F.L. de 1875. Researches on the fishes of Australia. Intercolonial Exhibition Essays. 2. pp. 1–52 in, Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 : Official Record. Melbourne. See ref online

Edgar, G.J. & Shaw, C. 1995. The production and tropic ecology of shallow-water fish assemblages in Southern Australia. II. Diets of fishes and tropic relationships between fishes and benthos at Western Port, Victoria. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 194: 83-106.

Goh, J. 1992. found that sandy sprat (Hyperlophus vittatus), an inshore small pelagic fish species, were planktivorous, but could switch between filter feeding and particulate feeding. 

Gomon, M.F. 1994. Families Halosauridae, Notacanthidae, Clupeidae, Engraulidae, Gonorynchidae, Plotosidae, Salmonidae. pp. 215-231 figs 192-206 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. 

Gomon, M.F 2008. Family Clupeidae, pp. 187-193 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island, pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd Ed. Perth.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762. See ref. at BHL 

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

Miskiewicz, A.G. & Neira, F.J. 1998. Clupeidae: herrings, sardines, shads, sprats. pp. 38-53, in Neira, F.J., Miskiewicz, A.G. & Trnski, T. 1998. Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: laboratory guide for larval fish identification. Nedlands, Western Australia : University of Western Australia press 474 pp.

Ogilby, J.D. 1892. On some undescribed reptiles and fishes from Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 2(2): 23-26 (described as Clupea sprattellides) See ref at BHL

Ogilby, J.D. 1897. New genera and species of Australian fishes. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 22(1): 62-95 (described Hyperlophus (Omochetus) copii) See ref at BHL

Rogers, P.J. & Ward, T.M. 2007. Life history strategy of sandy sprat Hyperlophus vittatus (Clupeidae): a comparison with clupeoids of the Indo‐Pacific and southern Australia. Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 23: 583-591.

Tregonning, R.J., Gaughan, D.J. &  Fletcher, W.J. 1996. Description of the eggs and yolk-sac larvae of whitebait, Hyperlophus vittatus (Teleostei: Clupeidae). Records of the Western Australian Museum 18: 129-134. See ref at BHL

Whitehead, P.J.P. 1985. FAO species catalog. Clupeoid fishes of the world (suborder Clupeoidei). Part 1 — Chirocentridae, Clupeidae and Pristigasteridae. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125 Vol. 7 Pt 1. pp. 1-303

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37085005

Depth:0-29 m

Habitat:Estuaries, bays

Max Size:10 cm SL


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