Aspius aspius 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Cyprinidae

Scientific Name: Aspius aspius
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Asp
Taxonomic Notes: Molecular and morphological data suggest that Aspius might have to be included in Leuciscus.

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. However, locally threatened by river engineering projects.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Data Deficient (DD)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Large rivers draining to North Sea (Weser, Elbe), Baltic Sea (southern tributaries, Norway east of Oslo, southern Sweden, Kokemären drainage in southern Finland), Black Sea, Sea of Azov and Caspian Seas; Aegean Sea, from Maritza to Lake Volvi drainages. Absent in Black Sea basin south of Danube and Rioni (Georgia) drainages, but present in Turkey west of Ankara. Introduced in Rhine, Northern Dvina and Lake Balkhash (Asia). Identity of populations of Aral Sea remains uncertain.
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; China; Croatia; Czech Republic; Estonia; Finland; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Italy; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lithuania; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Montenegro; Norway; Pakistan; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Sweden; Switzerland; Tajikistan; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

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

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Habitat:
Open water of large and mid-sized lowland rivers and large lakes. Spawns on gravel or submerged vegetation in fast-flowing water. Lake populations migrate to tributaries.

Lives more than 10 years. Spawns for the first time at 3-5 years. Reproductive success seems to be associated with low water level and high spring temperatures. Spawns more than one season, in March-early April (mid-May in Volga), when temperatures rise above 8°C (Rhine) or even less (4-6°C in Terek), at places with strong current. Spawning lasts about two weeks. Eggs adhere to gravel or submerged plants. Semi-anadromous individuals or populations (Terek) forage predominantly in estuaries and freshened parts of the sea, migrating to rivers only for spawning. Starts spawning migration in second half of October (Terek) and overwinters in lower part of river. Juveniles are gregarious predators; adults hunt in small groups or are solitary. Juveniles and adults feed predominantly on fish, especially on Alburnus alburnus or Osmerus eperlanus. Juveniles grow rapidly, reaching about 80-100 mm SL during first year. Regularly hybridizes with L. idus.
Systems: Freshwater
Movement patterns: Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Locally threatened by river engineering projects.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is a (EU - Berne Convention) Natura 2000 species, requiring protection from range states.

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
4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.3. Shipping lanes
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects

1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Sport hunting/specimen collecting
 National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Barus, V. and Oliva, O. 1995. Fauna CR a SR. Academia, Praha.

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

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

Riehl, R., Patzner, R.A. and Zanger, K. 2002. Die Eier heimischer Fische, 14. Rapfen oder Schied - Aspius aspius (Linnaeus, 1758) (Cyprinidae).

Citation: Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M. 2008. Aspius aspius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T2178A9311209. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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