Bitterling Fish

Bitterling Fish
Difficulty

Period

prohibited all year

Minimum size

not available

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The Bitterling fish is a freshwater fish and belongs to the Cyprinidae family. Its scientific name is Rhodeus Amarus. The current size of the bitterling fish is 5-6 cm. Some individuals can reach a maximum height of 11 cm and a weight of 10 g. This species is one of the smallest Cyprinid in Europe. It lives on average from 2 to 3 years. The spawning period is between April and June. It lays 40 to 100 oocytes. This fish is easy to catch due to its small size.
The bitterling is a small fish whose body is high and laterally compressed. The lateral line is short or incomplete. The scales on the back have a grey-green coloring. The sides are clear with silvery reflections. During the breeding period the silver coloration changes to a pink to bright red color with a dark blue sideband. Sexual dimorphism occurs between the male and female during reproduction. A 5 to 8 mm laying tube (ovipositor) develops in the female, which allows her to lay her eggs in the gill cavity of freshwater mussels. The male has a higher body than the female and its colors become brighter during the breeding season. The bitterling fish's eyes are quite large. Its mouth is small, oblique and the upper jaw protrudes beyond the lower jaw. The anal and dorsal fins have a short base and 8 to 10 branched rays.

The Bitterling fish lifestyle

The bitterling fish is an omnivorous fish but phytoplankton (diatoms). Aquatic plants and small invertebrates (worms, mollusks, insect larvae, especially chironomids) are the basis of its diet. It captures its prey by digging. The bitterling fish lives in school.
The bitterling fish requires the presence of the freshwater mussel (Anodontic or Unionidae) to be able to reproduce. Its uses its long ovipositor to deposit the eggs in the gills of the bivalve. The female can lay several successive eggs between April and June. At each laying, it lays 40 eggs in the host, so a bivalve can accommodate from 5 to 90 eggs. The eggs deposited in the mussel's gills are fertilized by the male, who releases the laitance on the bivalve. The eggs will incubate for 2 or 3 weeks, during which time the male will protect the eggs until the fry emerge.

The Bitterling Fish habitat

The bitterling fish is found in stagnant or slow-moving waters, lakes and ponds with muddy and sandy bottoms.
It is a typical fish of Central and Eastern Europe, it is not present in the South of the Alps, in Scandinavia, Denmark and south of the Pyrenees. It was introduced in Great Britain.

The Bitterling Fish Angling

The bitterling fish cannot reproduce without mussels. The mussel being an endangered species, the bitterling fish is threatened. Accordingly, the fishing of this species is forbidden and it profits from protective measures in some countries like France.

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