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Rhodeus amarus (Bloch, 1782)

European bitterling
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Italy country information

Common names: [No common name]
Occurrence: native
Salinity: freshwater
Abundance: | Ref:
Importance: | Ref:
Aquaculture: | Ref:
Regulations: | Ref:
Uses: no uses
Comments: Introduced to northern Italy (Ref. 59043). Recorded from northeastern Italy and is locally dominant along with the topomouth gudgeon and gambusia (Ref. 94493).
National Checklist:
Country Information:
National Fisheries Authority:
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: Kottelat, M. and J. Freyhof, 2007
National Database: ICTIMED

Common names from other countries

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes(genus, species) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Teleostei (teleosts) > Cypriniformes (Carps) > Acheilognathidae (Bitterlings)
Etymology: Rhodeus: Greek, rhodeos, a,-on = rose (Ref. 45335).
  More on author: Bloch.

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Freshwater; benthopelagic; depth range 0 - ? m.   Temperate; 60°N - 40°N

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Europe: central and eastern Europe and northern Asia Minor (Ref. 57778). Basins of North, southern Baltic, Black, western and southern Caspian and Aegean Seas (from Maritza to Struma drainages); Mediterranean basin, only in northern Rhône (France) and Drin drainages (Alabania, Montenegro, Macedonia). Abundant and expanding in most of its range, but locally threatened by water pollution, weed clearing, and stocking of predatory fish (Ref. 59043).

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 4.4, range 3 - 6 cm
Max length : 11.2 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 88166); common length : 5.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 556); max. reported age: 5 years (Ref. 9696)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 3; Dorsal soft rays (total): 8-10; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 8 - 10; Vertebrae: 34 - 36. Caudal fin with 19 to 20 soft rays. Differs from Rhodeus meridionalis by having sub-inferior mouth (vs. terminal), rostral cap covering all or at least more than half of upper lip (vs. only upper part of upper lip) (Ref. 59043).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Occurs most abundantly in still or slow-flowing water with dense aquatic vegetation and sand-silt bottom as lowland ponds, canals, slow-flowing rivers, backwaters and oxbows, where mussels are present (Ref. 59043). Found among plants over sand and muddy bottoms in shallow waters. Remarkable for its habit of deposing its eggs in the cavity of bivalves (Unio). Feeds mainly on plants and to a lesser degree on worms, crustaceans, and insect larvae. Formerly used for pregnancy tests: females injected with urine from pregnant women protruded their ovipositors (Ref. 6258). Live span is exceptionally up to 5 years but most individuals do not survive the year of their first reproduction and population sizes fluctuate greatly over the years (Ref. 59043).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Spawns in clear, slow-running or still water, often with a muddy bottom. The presence of nearby freshwater mussels is of vital importance. Female deposits eggs within the valves of the mussel. Male sheds sperm into the inhalent current of the respiring mussel and thereby, fertilizes the eggs. Fry remain in the mussel until protection is not anymore required.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Kottelat, M. and J. Freyhof, 2007. Handbook of European freshwater fishes. Publications Kottelat, Cornol and Freyhof, Berlin. 646 pp. (Ref. 59043)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 130435)

  Least Concern (LC) ; Date assessed: 01 January 2008

CITES (Ref. 128078)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: of no interest; aquarium: commercial; bait: occasionally
FAO(Publication : search) | FishSource |

More information

Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


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Internet sources

Estimates based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01047 (0.00781 - 0.01405), b=3.11 (3.05 - 3.17), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic level (Ref. 69278):  3.0   ±0.34 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 120179):  Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (tm=2; tmax=5; Fec=40).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate vulnerability (37 of 100).