Rutilus rutilus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Cyprinidae

Scientific Name: Rutilus rutilus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Roach

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 with no known major widespread threats.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Europe north of Pyrénées and Alps, eastward to Ural and Eya drainages (Caspian basin). Aegean basin, in Pinios, Vardar, Vegoritis, Kastoria, Struma and Maritza drainages. Asia: Aral basin and Siberia from Ob eastward to Lena drainages. Naturally absent from Iberian Peninsula, Adriatic basin, Italy, Great Britain north of 56°N, Scandinavia north of 69°N. Locally introduced in Spain. Introduced and invasive in northeastern Italy.
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Albania; Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; China; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Ireland; Isle of Man; Italy; Jersey; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Tajikistan; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom; Uzbekistan
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Habitat:
In a wide variety of habitats, mainly in lowland areas. Most abundant in nutrient-rich lakes and large to medium sized rivers and backwaters. Takes advantage of channelization, damming and slight organic pollution. Known also from small lowland streams and from brackish coastal lagoons. In fast-flowing rivers, restricted to stretches where backwaters or shelters allow for overwintering. Spawns among dense submerged vegetation in backwaters or lakes, flooded meadows or in shallow, fast-flowing river habitats on plant or gravel bottom.

Lives up to 13 years. Males reproduce for the first time at 2-3 years, females one year later, usually at about 100 mm SL. Undertakes short spawning migrations, sometimes starting as early as September, usually with a peak at temperatures above 9°C in spring. Spawns in April-May, when temperature rises above 12°C. Usually, a whole population spawns within a period of 5-10 days. Spawns in shoals. Eggs are sticky and hatch in about 12 days. Larvae and juveniles inhabit a wide variety of littoral habitats. Feeds mainly on benthic invertebrates, zooplankton, plant material and detritus. Populations predominantly feeding on detritus are often stunted (stunted populations may also be associated with strong year classes). May shift from littoral to pelagic habitats and between benthic food and zooplankton when abundance of a specific food item is high or in order to avoid predation and/or competition. The decision whether to stay in open water or among littoral vegetation is often described as a trade-off between food uptake and predator avoidance. When growing, there is an energetic need to switch from zooplankton to benthic food (chironomids, molluscs). Individuals able to feed on Dreissena mussels increase their growth rate but do not exploit this food source until they have reached about 120 mm SL (at which size they are able to crush the mussels). In some area (Volga reservoirs), pelagic and benthic roach can be distinguished by life-history traits (spawning time, spawning sites). Overwinters in backwaters or in deep parts of lakes. Frequently produces fertile hybrids with Abramis brama.
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats known.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No information.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Sport hunting/specimen collecting
 National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Holcík, J. and Skorepa, V. 1971. Revision of the roach, Rutilus rutilus (Linnaeus, 1758), with regard to its subspecies.

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

Kottelat, M. 1997. European freshwater fishes. An heuristic checklist of the freshwater fishes of Europe (exclusive of former USSR), with an introduction for non-sys tematists and comments on nomenclature and conservation.

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

Citation: Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M. 2008. Rutilus rutilus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T19787A9014741. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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