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Diagnostic Description

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Diagnosed from congeners in Europe by the possession of the following characters: origin of anal fin below branched dorsal rays 4-5; lateral line with 45-48 + 3 scales; anal fin with 17-20½ branched rays; 16-22 gill rakers; ventral keel exposed from anus to pelvic base; lateral stripe absent in life, faint or absent in preserved specimens; and mouth slightly superior (Ref. 59043). Caudal fin with 19 rays (Ref. 2196). Also Ref. 40476.
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Recorder
Pascualita Sa-a
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Life Cycle

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Eggs hatch in about 4 days (Ref. 59043).
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Recorder
Sari Kuosmanen-Postila
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Migration

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Potamodromous. Migrating within streams, migratory in rivers, e.g. Saliminus, Moxostoma, Labeo. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Susan M. Luna
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Morphology

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Dorsal spines (total): 2 - 4; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7 - 9; Analspines: 3; Analsoft rays: 14 - 20; Vertebrae: 41 - 44
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Pascualita Sa-a
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Threats

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Least Concern (LC)
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Susan M. Luna
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Trophic Strategy

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Occurs in shoals near the surface. Feeds mainly on plankton, including crustaceans (Ref. 30578) and insects (Ref. 9696). Excellent as bait for carnivorous fishes. Feeds at the surface in open water and in the coves, while it forages along the bottom in shallower shore zone (Ref. 46637). Feeding intensity high during summer and beginning of autumn and showed a decline in winter (Ref. 42428).
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Pascualita Sa-a
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Biology

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Inhabits open waters of lakes and medium to large rivers. Forms large aggregations in backwaters and other still waters during winter. Adults occur in shoals near the surface. Larvae live in littoral zone of rivers and lakes while juveniles leave shores and occupy a pelagic habitat, feeding on plankton, drifting insects or invertebrates fallen on the water surface (Ref. 59043). Feeds mainly on plankton, including crustaceans (Ref. 30578) and insects (Ref. 9696). Spawns in shallow riffles or along stony shores of lakes, occasionally above submerged vegetation (Ref. 59043). Excellent as bait for carnivorous fishes. May be captured using the smallest hook and a fly as bait. Its flesh is tasty (Ref. 30578). Of little interest to commercial or sport fisheries in its native range because of its small size (Ref. 1739). Scales were previously utilized in making Essence d"Orient, a coating for artificial pearls (Ref. 59043).
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Importance

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fisheries: minor commercial; aquaculture: commercial; bait: usually
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Common bleak

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The common bleak (Alburnus alburnus) is a small freshwater coarse fish of the cyprinid family.[1]

Description

"Alburnus.jpg"

The body of the bleak is elongated and flat. The head is pointed and the relatively small mouth is turned upwards. The anal fin is long and has 18 to 23 fin rays. The lateral line is complete. The bleak has a shiny silvery colour; and the fins are pointed and colourless. The maximum length is approximately 25 cm.

In Europe the bleak can easily be confused with many other species. In England, young common bream and silver bream can be confused with young bleak, though the pointed upward turned mouth of the bleak is already distinctive at young stages. Young roach and ruffe have a wider body and a short anal fin.

Occurrence

The bleak occurs in Europe and Western Asia: north of the Caucasus, Pyrenees and Alps, and eastward toward the Volga basin northern Iran and North-Western Turkey. It is absent from Iberian and Apennine peninsulas, from the rivers of Adriatic watershed on the Balkans and most of British Isles except southeast England. It is however locally introduced in Spain, Portugal, and Italy.

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The shiny and pearly colors on the head of a bleak in direct sunlight

Ecology

The bleak lives in great schools and feeds upon small molluscs, insects that fall in the water, insect larvae, worms, small shellfish and plant detritus. It is found in streams and lakes. The bleak prefers open waters and is found in large numbers where there is an inflow of food from pumping stations or behind weirs.

Spawning

The bleak spawns near the shore in shallow waters. Some are found in deep water. The substrate is not important.

Importance

The bleak is an important food source for predatory fish. It is more sensitive to pollution than other cyprinids, which might explain the decline in North-Western Europe.

Uses

Bleak are used as bait for sport-fishing for larger fish. In 1656 in Paris, a Mr. Jaquin extracted from the scales of the common bleak, so-called "Essence Orientale"[1] or "pearl essence",[2] (used in making artificial pearls) which is crystalline guanine.[3]

References

  1. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bleak" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 55.
  2. ^ Johann Rudolf von Wagner, Ferdinand Fischer, and L. Gautier, Traité de chimie industrielle (Treatise on industrial chemistry), 4th ed., (Paris, France: Masson & Co., 1903), vol. 2, pp. 64–65.
  3. ^ In 1861 the French chemist Charles-Louis Barreswil (1817–1870) found that "pearl essence" was guanine. See: Barreswil (1861) "Sur le blanc d'ablette qui sert à la fabrication des perles fausses" (On the white of ablette that's used in making imitation pearls), Comptes rendus, 53 : 246.
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Common bleak: Brief Summary

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The common bleak (Alburnus alburnus) is a small freshwater coarse fish of the cyprinid family.

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