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Biology

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This species has a peculiar mode of feeding in which it uses mucus to extract food particles from fine material pumped through the mouth (4). It is able to survive in low oxygen conditions because the gill area is very large. It is also thought that if oxygen levels fall drastically, spined loaches are able to gulp air from the surface of the water, and absorb oxygen through the gut wall into the blood stream (4). This loach has an interesting courtship in which a male touches a female with his spines, and then wraps himself around her body. The female releases eggs, which are then fertilised by the male (4).
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Conservation

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The inclusion of this species on Annex II of the EC Habitats and Species Directive has resulted in an increase in interest in its conservation, and an obligation for member states to designate Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in key areas where the spined loach occurs (4). As yet it is unknown if a number of endemic subspecies or species of spined loach have evolved in Britain due to the reproductive isolation of different populations. If this is the case, the entire complex of species will need to be conserved. Genetic research is currently in progress. Weed cutting and dredging will have short-term negative effects on this fish, but in the longer term, dredging may create more appropriate substrate conditions. Research into more detailed habitat requirements of this species in order to guide habitat management is underway (4).
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Description

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This small, bottom dwelling fish (3) has an elongate flat-sided body, which is brownish grey in colour with dark patches to the flanks (4). There are six barbels around the mouth (3), which are often difficult to see. Erectile spines below the eyes give the species its common name (4).
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Habitat

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This species can occur in a variety of water bodies, such as rivers, streams, canals, ditches, drains and lakes. In the day spined loaches tend to prefer habitats dominated by submerged vegetation, which may be important for spawning (5). At night, however, they appear to venture into more open habitats, probably due to the decreased risk of predation (4).
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Range

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This loach has a wide range across Europe and Asia, and is threatened in Europe. In Britain it is restricted to five east-flowing river systems: the Trent, Welland, Witham, Nene and Great Ouse (4).
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Status

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Listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention and Annex II of the EC Habitats and Species Directive (2).
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Threats

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As this fish does not have commercial or angling value, it was until very recently poorly known and under-recorded; the general population trends are therefore unknown (4).
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Brief Summary

provided by Ecomare
In the Netherlands, the spined loach is found most often in ditches and streams that have thick muddy layers. It is grayish brown to yellowish in color with exceptionally attractive dark brown spotted markings. The males are sexually mature at 2 years of age and grow to a maximum length of 8 centimeters. Females are sexually mature at 3 years of age and are longer, up to 14 centimeters. Spined loach breathe through their intestines just like the mud loach. They use their barbels to search for food on the bottom. Spined loach eat worms (tubifex) and larvae from mosquitoes and other small insects, as well as microscopic algae and detritus.
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Diagnostic Description

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Caudal fin with 15-16 rays (Ref. 2196). Single small spot on upper caudal base. Pigmentation (Gambetta's longitudinal zone of pigmentation): zones Z1-Z4 usually well differentiated, extending backward to caudal peduncle; height of blotches of zone Z4 usually less than 2 times in their length; if more than 2 times, then height equal to or greater than horizontal eye diameter. One lamina circularis (Ref. 59043).
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Recorder
Pascualita Sa-a
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Diseases and Parasites

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Schulmanela Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Recorder
Allan Palacio
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Life Cycle

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Start of courtship is observed when both male and female swim excitedly then progresses to a chase done by the male. When movements become synchronised, the male entwines itself around the female's body, squeezing it and causing egg spawning (Ref. 58425).Triploid females can occur; they produce triploid eggs which can develop without fertilization, but need contact with sperm to start development (gynogenesis) (Ref. 36876). Also Ref. 9953.
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Armi G. Torres
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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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Rainer Froese
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Morphology

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Dorsal spines (total): 3; Dorsal soft rays (total): 6 - 8; Analspines: 3; Analsoft rays: 5; Vertebrae: 40 - 42
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Trophic Strategy

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Occurs in slow-flowing and still waters with fine sandy substrate (Ref. 9696). Filters sand for food particles (Ref. 36876). Nocturnal, stays hidden under rocks or buried in the sand or mud during the day (Ref. 30578).
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Biology

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Adults occur in slow-flowing and still waters with fine sandy substrate (Ref. 9696). They occur in the Baltic Sea at salinities of up to 5 ppt (Ref. 59043). Filter sand for food particles (Ref. 36876). Nocturnal, stays hidden under rocks or buried in the sand or mud during the day (Ref. 30578). Oviparous, with distinct pairing during breeding (Ref. 205). Spawn in spring; scatters eggs into mats of plant material (Ref. 36876). Eggs are found attached to gravel and weed in shallow, flowing water (Ref. 41678). Larvae hide under vegetation and in debris until beginning of exogenous feeding (Ref. 59043).
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Importance

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fisheries: of no interest; aquarium: public aquariums
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Spined loach

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The spined loach (Cobitis taenia) is a common freshwater fish in Europe. It is sometimes known as spotted weather loach, not to be confused with the "typical" weather loaches of the genus Misgurnus. This is the type species of the spiny loach genus (Cobitis) and the true loach family (Cobitidae).

Description

The spined loach typically reaches an adult length of 8–10 cm (3.1–3.9 in), although females may grow up to 12 cm (4.7 in). Adults weigh between 20–60 g (0.7–2.1 oz). Their backs feature a yellow-brown colouring interspersed with many small grey or brown scales on the spinal ridge. The scales on the belly are pale yellow or orange. The body overall is long and thin. There are 6 barbels around the mouth. Under the eyes there is a two-pointed spike, with which the fish can inflict a painful sting.

Distribution and relationships

It is found from the Volga River basin to France. Generally it occurs across much of temperate Europe north of the Alpide belt, with the exceptions of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and northern Scandinavia. Some populations are also found just south of the Alpides. In the UK, the spined loach appears to be restricted to five east-flowing river systems in eastern England – the Rivers Trent, Welland, Witham, Nene and Great Ouse.[2]

Populations of southwestern Europe were formerly included in this species, but actually represent distinct branches of Cobitis. A member of subgenus Cobitis, close relatives of the spined loach are C. elongatoides, C. fahirae, C. tanaitica or C. vardarensis which replace it in northern Greece, much of Romania, and western Turkey.[3]

Ecology and behaviour

Clear oxygen-rich water is preferred by the spined loach, be it slowly flowing brooks, rivers or still water. They are found near flat and sandy or stony areas, frequently in large numbers. The spined loach is often kept as an ornamental fish in aquaria.

During the day, they bury themselves in the bed of the body of water, leaving only the head and tail exposed. At night, when the loach is most active, sand on the riverbed is consumed, and with it small animals and other organic material. Sand, stripped of nutrients, is ejected through the gills. This process must continue all night for the fish to get enough calories to survive.

Spined loaches possess the ability of intestinal breathing. This stop-gap measure sustains the spined loach when the water around it is oxygen-poor. At the water's surface swallowed air brings oxygen into the intestine. The expended air is expelled through the anus.

The spawning season is from April to June. The females produce between 300 and 1,500 eggs close to the ground: on stones, roots or plants. The eggs are then fertilized by the males. The larvae hatch in 4 to 6 days.

The spined loach's lifespan is between 3 and 5 years, with the maximum reached in captivity being 10 years.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Freyhof, J. (2011). "Cobitis taenia". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2011: e.T5037A11109311. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T5037A11109311.en. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  2. ^ https://sac.jncc.gov.uk/species/S1149/
  3. ^ Perdices et al. (2008)

References

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Spined loach: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

The spined loach (Cobitis taenia) is a common freshwater fish in Europe. It is sometimes known as spotted weather loach, not to be confused with the "typical" weather loaches of the genus Misgurnus. This is the type species of the spiny loach genus (Cobitis) and the true loach family (Cobitidae).

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