Luciobarbus brachycephalus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Cyprinidae

Scientific Name: Luciobarbus brachycephalus (Kessler, 1872)
Regional Assessments:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M.
Reviewer(s): Bogutskaya, N., & Smith, K. (IUCN Freshwater Biodiversity Unit)
Over the past 30 years (three generations; since 1976), a large part of this species' range (estimated 20%), the Aral Sea, has disappeared due to intensive water abstraction leading to increased salinity levels. Currently, the species only occurs in a few reservoirs in the Amu Darya and Syr Darya (tributaries to the Aral), and Karakum Canal (where it is invasive) where its status is unknown.

In the western Caspian Sea the landlocked population (in the Kura river) is thought be stable, and the anadromous population has declined, due to the lack of spawning sites and poaching, but it is still frequent in the southern Caspian tributaries in Azerbaidjan and Iran.

Overall, there is a continuing to decline due to expanding hydropower development and strong ecological impacts on Caspian and Aral Sea basins. It is suspected that the total population has declined by at least 30% in the past 30 years.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Aral basin (extirpated in the sea - due to salinity, only survives in the resevoirs of its tributaries), Chu drainage and southern and western Caspian Sea. For spawning, migrates up larger tributaries of western and southern coasts: Terek, Samur, Kura, lower Aras. Rarely in lower Volga (up to Volgograd) and Ural.
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Armenia; Azerbaijan; China; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Pakistan; Russian Federation; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Declined sharpley due to damming in the 1950's and 1960's in the Caspian Sea. In the Aral sea the species declined due to the shrinking (increased salinity) of the Aral sea (started in 1970s to present) and damming of its tibutaries (1950's to 1970's).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Habitat:
At sea, at depths of up to 25 m. In rivers, in deep stretches with gravel or stone bottom. Spawns in fast-flowing water at sites with hard bottom, 1-2 m deep.

Semi-anadromous and riverine populations. Spawns for the first time at about 500-700 mm SL, 5-7 years, females later than males. Spawns in April-August, with peak at 23-27°C. Some individuals start spawning migration in late summer-autumn and spawn following spring after overwintering in river. Some enter rivers in early spring and spawn same year. Female lays 100,000-1,250,000 bright yellow eggs; in 2-3 portions during a single season. Eggs are semipelagic and hatch while drifting downstream after at least 2 days at 25°C. Larvae settle into places with slow current for 2-12 months, then drift downstream to sea (or reservoir if river is dammed). In freshened parts of sea, feeds mainly on benthic crustaceans. Does not feed while migrating upstream. At spawning sites, starts to feed again, mainly on insects, eggs and juveniles of other fishes, rarely on algae, seeds and other plant material.
Generation Length (years):10
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Historically dam construction and overfishing was a threat, increasing salinity in the Aral sea caused the species to become extirpated. Currently the main threat is overfishing (illegal) in the Caspian sea.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Fishing is banned in the Caspian Sea.

Citation: Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M. 2008. Luciobarbus brachycephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T135684A4180293. . Downloaded on 19 September 2017.
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