Phoxinus phoxinus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Phoxinus phoxinus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Minnow
Taxonomic Notes: The systematics of Phoxinus is far from resolved and our observations suggest that several species are confused under the name P. phoxinus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern 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)
A widespread species but locally threatened by pollution and excessive stocking of species of Salmo.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Basins of Atlantic, North and Baltic Seas, Arctic and northern Pacific Ocean from Garonne (France) eastward to Anadyr and Amur drainages and Korea, Ireland (possibly introduced), Great Britain northward to 58°N, Scandinavia and Russia northernmost extremity, Rhône drainage. Recorded from upper and middle Volga and Ural drainages, Lake Balkhash (Kazakhstan) and upper Syr-Darya drainage (Aral basin), but these identifications require confirmation. Introduced elsewhere.
Albania; Andorra; Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; China; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Abundant.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Habitat:
A wide range of cold and well oxygenated habitats from small, fast-flowing streams to large Nordic lowland rivers and from small upland lakes to large oligotrophic lakes. Usually associated with salmonid fishes. Spawning takes place over clean gravel areas in flowing water or on wave-washed shores of lakes. Overwinters in coarse substrate or in deep pools with low current.

Gregarious, rheophilous. Lives up to 11 years, usually up to 4-5 years. Spawns for the first time at two years. Spawns in April-June at temperatures above 10°C. Some individuals spawn even during autumn. Spawns in shoals, fractional spawner, females deposit the sticky eggs deep into clean gravel. Feeds on invertebrates, algae and detritus.
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Pollution and excessive stocking of species of Salmo.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No information.

Bibliography [top]

Bless, R. 1992. Einsichten in die Ökologie der Elritze Phoxinus phoxinus (L.), praktische Grundlagen zum Schutz einer gefährdeten Fischart.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Kottelat, M. 2007. Three new species of Phoxinus from Greece and southern France (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 18: 145-162.

Kottelat, M. and Freyhof, J. 2007. Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes. Publications Kottelat, Cornol, Switzerland.

Repa, P. 1976. Der sexuelle Dimorphismus und die Abhängigkeit der relativen Grösse der plastischen Merkmale von der Körperlänge der Elritze (Phoxinus phoxinus-Cy prinidae) an verschiedenen Orten ihres Verbreitungsareals.

Repa, P. and Pivnicka, K. 1980. Morphologische Variabilität der Elritze (Phoxinus phoxinus) (Pisces: Cyprinidae).

Tack, E. 1941. Die Ellritze (Phoxinus laevis Ag.), eine monographische Bearbeitung.

Citation: Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M. 2008. Phoxinus phoxinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 27 March 2015.
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