Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Scardinius erythrophthalmus



Scardinius erythrophthalmus (rudd)


  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Threatened Species
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Scardinius erythrophthalmus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • rudd
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Actinopterygii
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • S. erythrophthalmus is a potential pest in many areas, due to consumption of native plants; as it is omnivorous it can shift its diet to plants, unlike most native fishes. Experiments demonstrated that it might b...

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Scardinius erythrophthalmus (common rudd); a fish from the Southern Bug river, Ukraine. June, 2009.
CaptionScardinius erythrophthalmus (common rudd); a fish from the Southern Bug river, Ukraine. June, 2009.
CopyrightReleased into the Pubic Domain by George Chernilevsky
Scardinius erythrophthalmus (common rudd); a fish from the Southern Bug river, Ukraine. June, 2009.
AdultScardinius erythrophthalmus (common rudd); a fish from the Southern Bug river, Ukraine. June, 2009.Released into the Pubic Domain by George Chernilevsky


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Scardinius erythrophthalmus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Preferred Common Name

  • rudd

Other Scientific Names

  • Cyprinus caeruleus Yarrell, 1833
  • Cyprinus compressus Hollberg, 1822
  • Cyprinus erythrophthalmus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Cyprinus erythrops Pallas, 1814
  • Cyprinus fuscus Vallot, 1837
  • Cyprinus scardula Nardo, 1827
  • Leuciscus apollonitis Richardson, 1857
  • Leuciscus erythrophthalmus (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Leuciscus scardafa (non Bonaparte, 1837)
  • Rutilus erythrophthalmus scardata (Bonaparte, 1837)
  • Scardinius crocophthalmus Walecki, 1863
  • Scardinius dergle Heckel & Kner, 1858
  • Scardinius erithrophthalmus (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Scardinius eruthrophthalmus (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Scardinius erythrophthalmus achrus Stephanidis, 1950
  • Scardinius erythrophthalmus dojranensis Karan, 1924
  • Scardinius erythrophthalmus racovitzai Müller, 1958
  • Scardinius erythrophthalmus rutiloides Vladykov, 1931
  • Scardinius hesperidicus Bonaparte, 1845
  • Scardinius macrophthalmus Heckel & Kner, 1858
  • Scardinius platizza Heckel, 1845
  • Scardinius plotizza Heckel & Kner, 1858
  • Scardinius racovitzai Müller, 1958
  • Scardinius scardafa (non Bonaparte, 1837)
  • Scardinius scardafa ohridana Vladyko & Petit, 1930

International Common Names

  • English: pearl roach; redeye
  • Spanish: escardinio; gardí
  • French: about; gardon carpe; gardon de roche; gardon rouge; louzou; plate; platelle; rossard; rotengle; rothfeden; rottle; sergent; suce-roseaux
  • Russian: krasnoperka

Local Common Names

  • Albania: lloska-ë
  • Austria: rotfeder
  • Bulgaria: chervenoperka
  • Czech Republic: cervenica; merlin; perlín obecný; perlín ostrobrichý; perlin rudoploutvy; rudoun; senkyrka; zruka
  • Denmark: rudskalle
  • Finland: sorva
  • Germany: Meefischli; Rotfeder; Weißfisch
  • Greece: kokkinoftera; platitsa
  • Iran: sorkh Baleh; sorkh Pareh
  • Ireland: deargan
  • Italy: scardola
  • Netherlands: rietvoorn
  • Norway: sorv; sørv; søv
  • Poland: wzdrega; wzdrega a. krasnopiórka
  • Romania: rosioara
  • Slovakia: cervenica obycajná
  • Slovenia: rdeceperka
  • Sweden: sarv
  • Switzerland: rotengle; rotfeder; scardola
  • Turkey: kizilkanat baligi
  • Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro): crvenperka; dojranska letnica

Summary of Invasiveness

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S. erythrophthalmus is a potential pest in many areas, due to consumption of native plants; as it is omnivorous it can shift its diet to plants, unlike most native fishes. Experiments demonstrated that it might be putting vulnerable aquatic communities at risk (ISSG, 2006). It has a wide tolerance to a variety of habitats, which contributed to its wide distribution (USGS, 2005).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Actinopterygii
  •                     Order: Cypriniformes
  •                         Family: Cyprinidae
  •                             Genus: Scardinius
  •                                 Species: Scardinius erythrophthalmus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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A number of subspecies of Scardinius erythrophthalmus have been recognized (Banarescu, 1964); some of them have been elevated to distinct species, for example, Scardinius graecus and Scardinius scardafa, (Bogutskaya, 1997; Bianco, 2004) and some are no longer considered valid.

The golden coloured variety of S. erythrophthalmus is sometimes used as an ornamental pond fish (Maitland, 1977). S. erythrophthalmus is known to hybridize with the golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas) (Burkhead and Williams, 1991), which is apparently the first known non-salmonid inter-generic cross of a North American native and an exotic (Taylor et al., 1984).


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S. erythrophthalmus has a deep laterally compressed body with a forked tail, a distinct mouth with a steeply angled protruding lower lip, and robustly marked scales (Nico et al., 2008). The body colour is golden-olive on the back, paling to a silvery-olive on the sides and silvery-white on the belly (ISSG, 2006). The fins are bright orange-red and the eyes are pink to gold in colour (McDowall, 2000). According to Wheeler (1978), all the fins are reddish and the ventral fins are brilliant blood red. Other authors have described the median fins as having a rose-orange wash and the paired fins as rose-orange (USGS, 2005). In nuptial males, the venter is silver and the sides are brassy progressing to bright translucent orange along the mid-back (USGS, 2005).

It has 36-45 lateral scales distinctly curved downward anteriorly, 10-11 anal rays (Page and Burr, 1991), less than 10 soft rays on the dorsal fin (Hubbs et al., 1991), and 9-10 short gill rakers on the first gill arch (Nico et al., 2008). Pharyngeal teeth are strongly serrated and borne on a stout arch with a dental formula of typically 3,5-5,3 (ISSG, 2006).

S. erythrophthalmus is medium-sized with an average total length of 30-45 cm and an average weight of 0.8-2.0 kg (Berg, 1964; Wheeler, 1969, 1978; Muus, 1971). The reported maximum age of S. erythrophthalmus is nineteen years (Froese and Pauly, 2008).


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S. erythrophthalmus is widespread in its native range in Europe and central Asia (Banarescu, 1964; Berg, 1964), in the basins of the North, Baltic, Black, Caspian (from Emba, Ural and Volga to the rivers of the southern coast) and Aral seas (Bogutskaya, 1997).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


AfghanistanPresentNativeCoad, 1981; Froese and Pauly, 2004
ArmeniaPresentNativeBlanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004
AzerbaijanPresentNativeBlanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Georgia (Republic of)PresentNativeBlanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004
IranPresentNativeCoad, 1995; Froese and Pauly, 2004
TurkeyPresentNativeBogutskaya, 1997; Froese and Pauly, 2004
UzbekistanPresentNativeKamilov and Urchinov, 1995; Froese and Pauly, 2004


MoroccoPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004
TunisiaPresentIntroducedFroese and Pauly, 2004; DIAS, 2007

North America

CanadaPresentIntroducedCoad, 1995; Froese and Pauly, 2004
-OntarioPresentIntroducedCoad, 1995
USAPresentIntroducedCrossman, 1991; Froese and Pauly, 2004


AlbaniaPresentNativeBlanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004
AustriaPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
BelarusPresentNativeBlanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004
BelgiumPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Bosnia-HercegovinaPresentNativeCrivelli, 1996; Froese and Pauly, 2004
BulgariaPresentNativeBlanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004
CroatiaPresentNativeCrivelli, 1996; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Czech RepublicPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
DenmarkPresentNativeMuus and Dahlstrøm, 1990; Froese and Pauly, 2004
EstoniaPresentNativeAnon, 1999; Froese and Pauly, 2004
FinlandPresentNativeFroese and Pauly, 2004
FrancePresentNativeKeith and Allardi, 2001; Froese and Pauly, 2004
GermanyPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
GreecePresentNativeBobori et al., 2001
HungaryPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
IrelandPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
ItalyPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
LatviaPresentNativeBlanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004
LiechtensteinPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
LithuaniaPresentNativeBlanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004
LuxembourgPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
MoldovaPresentNativeBlanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004
NetherlandsPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
NorwayPresentBlanc et al., 1971
PolandPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
RomaniaPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Russian FederationPresentNativeReshetnikov et al., 1997; Froese and Pauly, 2004
SerbiaPresentNativeCrivelli, 1996; Froese and Pauly, 2004
SlovakiaPresentNativeGerstmeier and Romig, 1998; Froese and Pauly, 2004
SloveniaPresentNativeGerstmeier and Romig, 1998; Froese and Pauly, 2004
SpainPresentIntroducedDoadrio et al., 1991; Froese and Pauly, 2004
SwedenPresentMuus and Dahlström, 1968
SwitzerlandPresentNativeMuus and Dahlström, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004
UKPresentNativeMaitland and Campbell, 1992; Froese and Pauly, 2004
UkrainePresentNativeMovchan and Smirnov, 1981; Froese and Pauly, 2004


New ZealandPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004

History of Introduction and Spread

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S. erythrophthalmus first appeared in the USA in the late nineteenth century (Courtenay and Williams, 1992). The species entered the USA during two widely separated periods of introduction (Nico et al., 2008). It was initially brought to this country either in the late 1800s or early 1900s. A second period of introduction presumably began in the late 1960s or early 1970s. It has presumably spread across the United States through the bait industry (Nico et al., 2008).


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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Canada Europe   Bartley (2006) Bait
Canada USA   Interconnected waterways (pathway cause)Coad et al. (1995)
Ireland England and Wales 1700-1799 Yes DIAS (2007) Angling/sport
Madagascar France 1951 No Stiassny and Raminosoa (1994)
Morocco France 1935 Yes Welcomme (1988) Species produces high density and stunted populations
New Zealand England and Wales 1967 Yes DIAS (2007) Widespread in lakes and slow flowing rivers and considered as a noxious species. Becoming widepread in North and South Islands; range in expanding. It is present in still and sluggish waters in and north of the lower Waikato River valley having spread slo
Spain 1980 Fisheries (pathway cause) Yes Welcomme (1988) Possible breeding populations exist on a local area. There is an increasing trend of spread of this fish
Tunisia France 1960 Fisheries (pathway cause) Yes DIAS (2007) Reintroduced in 1965
USA Europe 1890-1899 Yes DIAS (2007) Reintroduced in 1917. Established in New York; its recent popularity as a bait fish may have resulted in the species acquiring a much wider distribution. Established in St. Lawrence River

Risk of Introduction

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S. erythrophthalmus is cultivated as a food fish in some countries and also used as bait for fishing. It has been reported as introduced illegally by anglers in some countries and angling associations may release it for sports fisheries (ISSG, 2006). Bait bucket release is believed to be the primary mechanism by which S. erythrophthalmus has gained access to open waters (Nico et al., 2008). Therefore, use of bait and for sport fisheries may pose a risk of S. erythrophthalmus introductions into new areas.


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S. erythrophthalmus occurs in a variety of freshwater habitats, including subalpine oligotrophic lakes, lowland lakes, reservoirs, ponds, large rivers, oxbows, small streams, and thermal springs; in some areas, it enters brackish water (Wheeler, 1969; Kennedy and Fitzmaurice, 1974; Aneer and Nellbring, 1976; Rheinberger et al., 1987). It prefers waters that contain large weed beds (McDowall, 2000) that serve both as cover and a principal component of the diet (Wheeler, 1969; Kennedy and Fitzmaurice, 1974). In streams and rivers, it usually occurs in long, slow pools and backwaters. In ponds, lakes and reservoirs, it is usually found in the littoral zone (USGS, 2005). It can also live in brackish waters (Froese and Pauly, 2008). S. erythrophthalmus can be found at altitudes of 1829 m above sea level (Schindler, 1957).

Habitat List

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Lakes Principal habitat
Rivers / streams Principal habitat
Ponds Secondary/tolerated habitat
Estuaries Secondary/tolerated habitat
Lagoons Secondary/tolerated habitat

Biology and Ecology

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The recorded haploid and diploid chromosome numbers of S. erythrophthalmus in Italy and Sweden are 24 (n) and 48-48 (2n), respectively (Froese and Pauly, 2008). The same haploid and diploid chromosome numbers of S. erythrophthalmus have been reported in unspecified locations (Froese and Pauly, 2008). Haploid and diploid chromosome numbers are reported as 25 (n) and 50-50 (2n) in the South Pyrenees, Umbria, Italy, USA, and Yugoslavia, (Froese and Pauly, 2008) and in unspecified locations (Manna, 1989; Klinkhardt et al., 1995; Froese and Pauly, 2008). Another variation in haploid and diploid chromosome numbers of 26 (n) and 52-52 (2n) in unspecified locations has been reported by Froese and Pauly (2008).

Genetic markers of S. erythrophthalmus were documented by Klinkhardt et al. (1995), but the location was not specified.

Reproductive Biology

Male S. erythrophthalmus generally mature at age one to four years whereas the females mature at age two to five, but maturity can vary with geographic latitude (USGS, 2005). Spawning occurs once per year (McDowall, 1990) or produces two batches of eggs in a spawning season (Holcik, 1967) over spring and summer, when water temperatures rise above about 16°C (Nikolsky, 1963) to 18°C (McDowall, 1990). In its native range S. erythrophthalmus spawns from April to August (Pflieger, 1997). Female S. erythrophthalmus lay 96,000-232,000 eggs per female (Berg, 1964) or 108,000-211,000 eggs per kg of body mass (Kennedy and Fitzmaurice, 1974).

The eggs are demersal, adhesive (Cadwallader, 1977; Cerny, 1977) and small with a diameter of one to 1.4 mm, and are deposited among vegetation (USGS, 2005). Newly fertilized eggs are translucent pale yellow to opaque grey-green (Cadwallader, 1977; Cerny, 1977). Incubation period varies according to the water temperature. Incubation time ranges from 4-5 days at 17.5-21.5°C to 19-20 days at 10.5-11.5°C.

Newly hatched larvae attach themselves to aquatic plants using adhesive organs and stay attached for several days while the yolk is utilized for feeding (McDowall, 1990). Larvae are about 4.5-5.9 mm in total length at hatching (USGS, 2005).


S. erythrophthalmus has a diverse diet from phytoplankton to insects, snails and crustaceans depending on the life stage. At the larval stage S. erythrophthalmus consumes unicellular algae and some phytoplankton; late larval stages feed on cladocerans and copepods while young stages feed on aquatic crustaceans, snails and insects (USGS, 2005). Adult S. erythrophthalmus are omnivorous, feeding mainly on aquatic vegetation as well as surface and aerial insects, snails, crustaceans, diatoms, and occasionally fish eggs (Hartley, 1947; Muus, 1971; Coates and Turner, 1977; Smith, 1985).

Environmental Requirements

Even though S. erythrophthalmus is primarily a freshwater fish it has the ability to tolerate low levels of saline water. It has been found in tidal ponds of the Shannon Estuary and in Courtown Harbour where salinity ranges from 1-10 ppt (Kennedy and Fitzmaurice, 1974) and individuals have been caught in the northern Baltic Sea at a salinity level of 7 ppt (Aneer and Nellbring, 1976).

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Water pH (pH) 7.0 7.5 Optimum
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 10 22 Optimum

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Channa argus warpachowskii Predator Adult/Fry not specific Guseva, 1990
Esox lucius Predator Adult/Fry not specific Omarov and Popova, 1985
Sander lucioperca Predator Adult/Fry not specific Stolyarov, 1985
Silurus glanis Predator Adult/Fry not specific Omarov and Popova, 1985

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

S. erythrophthamus are able to disperse within connected water bodies.

Accidental Introduction

S. erythrophthalmus have been widely introduced through a combination of bait bucket releases, escapes from aquaculture facilities and farm ponds, and, presumably, by dispersal from various points of introduction (e.g., Burkhead and Williams, 1991). Dill and Cordone (1997) expressed concern that S. erythrophthalmus may find its way into California as a contaminant in golden shiner shipments imported as bait from Arkansas.

Intentional Introduction

Although many S. erythrophthalmus introductions are considered accidental, it is likely that S. erythrophthalmus also have been intentionally released into public waters during the past few decades (Nico et al., 2008). S. erythrophthalmus has been introduced illegally by anglers in some countries. It has also been released into waters by angling organisations as a sport fish. S. erythrophthalmus has been cultivated in Arkansas and Virginia (and possibly elsewhere) as baitfish and distributed to bait stores in at least sixteen states (Courtenay and Williams, 1992).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Aquaculture Yes
Stocking Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Aquaculture stock Yes
Bait Yes

Impact Summary

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Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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Rowe and Champion (1994) recorded that in New Zealand the introduction of S. erythrophthalmus to a small put-and-take trout fishery ruined the fishery because they exhibited stunted growth and subsequently out-competed trout for anglers' lures.

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Biodiversity

S. erythrophthalmus can be a potential pest in some areas, due to its consumption of aquatic plants, putting vulnerable native aquatic plants at risk (Lake et al., 2002). Cadwallader (1977) reviewed the potential impacts of S. erythrophthalmus in waters of North Island, New Zealand and concluded, in part, that it can be expected to compete for invertebrate food sources with native fishes. Burkhead and Williams (1991) suggest hybridization of S. erythrophthalmus and golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas) may impose a threat to the genetic integrity of the golden shiner.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Long lived
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Modification of natural benthic communities
  • Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Hybridization


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S. erythrophthalmus is valued as a sporting fish by anglers (McDowall, 2000) and characteristics of the species have made it a popular bait with anglers fishing for striped bass, Morone saxatilis (Burkhead and Williams, 1991).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Bait/attractant


  • Sport (hunting, shooting, fishing, racing)

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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S. erythrophthalmus is similar in appearance to the golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas). The two species can be distinguished by examining the mid-ventral keel, fin colour of adult and pharyngeal teeth. The golden shiner has a scale-less mid-ventral keel, orange or reddish-orange fins of adult and a single row of (0,5-5,0) pharyngeal teeth, whereas the keel of adult S. erythrophthalmus is crossed with scales, and there are two rows of (3,5-5,3) pharyngeal teeth (USGS, 2005). Newly hatched S. erythrophthalmus larvae possess adhesive organs on the head and anterior trunk, while golden shiner larvae do not have adhesive organs (Lippson and Moran, 1974; Snyder et al., 1977).

Prevention and Control

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SPS measures

In New Zealand S. erythrophthalmus has been declared as a noxious fish, except for the Auckland area where it is valued as a sport fish; it has been declared as a potential pest by Environment Waikato Region and in Wellington Region (ISSG, 2006).

Crossman (1991) suggests the species should not be intentionally or accidentally transferred to other waters, in order to avoid damage to native cyprinid populations by competition and hybridization.


Physical/mechanical control

It has been demonstrated that the use of fine-mesh monofilament gill nets is a potentially viable but short-term option for the control of S. erythrophthalmus in small lakes (Neilson et al., 2004). Rowe and Champion (1994) reported that S. erythrophthalmus were eliminated from a two hectare lake using a combination of grass carp to remove weed beds and then rotenone to remove the unwanted fish exposed by weed removal.


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Holcik J, 1967. Life history of the rudd Scardinius erythrophthalmus (Linnaeus, 1758) in the Klicava Reservoir. Vestnik Ceskoslovenske Spolecnosti Zoologicke, 31 (4):335-348.

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Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS) source for updated system data added to species habitat list.


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Italy: FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome,

Switzerland: IUCN (The World Conservation Union), Rue Mauverney 28, Gland 1196, Gland, Switzerland,

USA: United States Geological Survey, USGS National Center 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192,


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27/06/08 Original text by:

Sunil Siriwardena, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA, UK

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