Leuciscus leuciscus (common dace)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Water Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Leuciscus leuciscus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Preferred Common Name
- common dace
Other Scientific Names
- Cyprinus dobula Linnaeus, 1758
- Cyprinus graining Walbaum, 1792
- Cyprinus grislagine Linnaeus, 1758
- Cyprinus lancastriensis Shaw, 1804
- Cyprinus leuciscus Linnaeus, 1758
- Cyprinus mugilis Vallot, 1837
- Cyprinus salax Gronow, 1854
- Cyprinus simus Römer-Büchner, 1827
- Cyprinus squalus Walbaum, 1792
- Cyprinus umbra Walbaum, 1792
- Idus stagnalis Dubalen, 1913
- Leuciscus argenteus Fitzinger, 1832
- Leuciscus dobula Linnaeus, 1758
- Leuciscus leuciscus baicalensis kirgisorum Berg, 1912
- Leuciscus leuciscus roulei Bertin & Estève, 1948
- Leuciscus majalis Agassiz, 1835
- Leuciscus rodens Agassiz, 1835
- Leuciscus rostratus Agassiz, 1835
- Leuciscus rostratus Valenciennes, 1844
- Leuciscus saltator Bonaparte, 1845
- Leuciscus vulgaris Fleming, 1828
- Squalidus baicalensis non Dybowski, 1874
- Squalius chalybeius Heckel, 1852
- Squalius lepusculus Heckel, 1852
- Squalius leuciscus elata Fatio, 1882
- Squalius leuciscus elongata Fatio, 1882
- Squalius leuciscus lateristriga Fatio, 1882
- Squalius mehdem Warpachowski, 1897
- Squalius vulgaris argenteus Walecki, 1863
- Squalius vulgaris leptorhinus Walecki, 1863
- Squalius vulgaris minor Walecki, 1863
- Squalius vulgaris robustior Walecki, 1863
International Common Names
- English: dace; darsen; graining; hasel
- Spanish: leucisco
- French: accourcie; assée; aubour; chevaine vaudois; coucie; dard; gandoise; poinonet; rouzau; sièje; sièjo; vandoise
- Russian: elets obyknovennyi; eletz
- Arabic: keltschi; myk
Local Common Names
- Austria: Hasel
- Azerbaijan: eletz
- Belarus: eletz; kljanjek; yal’chik; yaletz
- Bulgaria: klen
- Croatia: rießling
- Czech Republic: belauš; belice; jalec obycajny; jelec; proudník; vodní zajícek
- Denmark: almindelig Strømskalle; strømskalle
- Estonia: teib
- Finland: korpiainen; seipi
- Germany: Angelfish; Dase; Döbel; Fase; Hasel; Hasele; Hasila; Häsling; Laschen; Luke; Merzling; Nefel; Nestling; Rießling; Schnädel; Schnörgel; Schnottfisch; Spitzhassel; Springer; Stämm; Stichhassel; Urban; Weißbleier; Zinnfisch
- Hungary: nyuldomolykó
- Ireland: deas
- Latvia: baltais sapals; eletz
- Lithuania: baltalis sapals; strepetys
- Netherlands: gruis; hesseling; serpeling; springer
- Norfolk Island: gullbust; haslong
- Norway: gullbust; haslong
- Poland: jelec; nestling; salez
- Romania: clean; clean mic
- Serbia: klenic
- Slovakia: jalec obycajný
- Slovenia: klenic
- Sweden: Stäm
- Ukraine: alych; eletz; jal’chyk; jalec’; jalych; kljuvak; verbljanyk
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
The common dace can be considered an invasive species outside its native range because it has the ecological characteristics of recognized successful invaders. It is a feeding generalist (i.e. debris, small invertebrates, etc.) but usually has a high plant content in its diet. In addition it has high fecundity, fast growth rate and is considered tolerant of anthropogenic pressures. It is a long-lived, highly mobile fish due to its pelagic condition. Humans may also facilitate its spread due to its value as a bait species in recreational fishing. It is common in river backwaters and considered a nuisance because it invades salmonid fisheries. It is a common species in aquaculture (FAO, 1997).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Cypriniformes
- Family: Cyprinidae
- Genus: Leuciscus
- Species: Leuciscus leuciscus
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Populations from Siberia and East Asia usually referred to Leuciscus leuciscus are distinct species, Leuciscus baicalensis and Leuciscus dzungaricus (Kottelat and Freyhof, 2007).
DescriptionTop of page
The common dace (L. leuciscus) is a freshwater fish (Cyprinidae family) that reaches 15 cm TL male/unsexed (Muus and Dahlström, 1968), with a maximum reported length of 40 cm TL male/unsexed (Billard, 1993). It has 2-3 dorsal spines in total, 7-9 dorsal soft rays, 3 anal spines, 7-9 anal soft rays and 42-46 vertebrae. The maximum weight reported is 1000 g (Billard, 1993), and maximum reported age is 16 years (Zhukov, 1965; Wüstemann and Kammerad, 1995). The common dace has a fast growth rate and it can reach up to 85 mm SL in the first year.
DistributionTop of page
Europe and Asia: North, Baltic, White and Barents Sea basins; Caspian basin, in Volga and Ural drainages; Black Sea basin, from Danube to Dnieper drainages; Atlantic basin, in Seine drainage; Mediterranean basin from Rhône to Arc drainages (France). It has a localized distribution in Romania, Scandinavia and in central Finland (Kottelat and Freyhof, 2007).
Distribution TableTop of page
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.Last updated: 17 Dec 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Afghanistan||Present||Native||Freshwater. Occurs in adjacent or contiguous drainage basins to Afghanistan|
|Kazakhstan||Present||Freshwater. Introduced in Lake Balkhash. Status uncertain, possibly introduced or outside distributional range|
|Austria||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, gamefish, near threatened|
|Belgium||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater|
|Czechia||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater. Occurs in Morava river basin. Least concern|
|Denmark||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish. Bait. Occurs in watercourses in Southwest Jutland|
|Estonia||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish. Common in the Gulf of Riga and Gulf of Finland|
|Finland||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater. Occurs on the coast and in the river mouths flowing to the sea, inland populations common North of Oulujoki water course and in eastern Finland. Very localized in most of central Finland|
|France||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish. Common in most regions. Absent from extreme south-east and Roussillon. Its biotope has to be protected|
|Germany||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish. Usually not seen. Endangered in 1994|
|Hungary||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish|
|Ireland||Present, Localized||Introduced||1889||Invasive||Freshwater, brackish. First introduced to Munster Blackwater. Since 1990s also recorded in the lower reaches of the River Shannon, in Doon Lake (Co. Clare) and in the Rivers Barrow and Nore|
|Latvia||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish|
|Lithuania||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish|
|Netherlands||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish. Fairly common|
|Norway||Present, Widespread||Not confirmed. Freshwater, brackish|
|Poland||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish. Usually not seen|
|Romania||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish. Very localized in Danube main river|
|Russia||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish. Occurs in rivers running into the Baltic Sea, lakes Ladoga and Onega, the European region of the basin of the Arctic Ocean from the Varzuga and Kem to the Pechora, rivers of the Black Sea basin from the Dnieper to Mius, the Volga and Ural rivers, and in the Asian region of the Arctic Ocean from the Ob to Kolyma|
|Sweden||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater. Occurrence: Native and regular|
|Switzerland||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater. Fairly common. In most rivers and lakes|
|Ukraine||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish|
|United Kingdom||Present, Widespread||Native||Freshwater, brackish. Native to UK but introduced to Loch Lomond|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
In Ireland, common dace gained access to the country through the accidental release of bait fish by British pike anglers and its spread to other watercourses has probably been expedited by coarse anglers wanting to improve the fishing amenity (Caffrey et al., 2007).
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Ireland||England and Wales||1889||Yes||Yes||FAO (1997)||Gained access to the country through the accidental release of bait fish|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
The common dace is without interest to the aquarium trade, but is considered a valuable species in aquaculture (FAO, 1997) and also has interest as a bait fish and angling species. Therefore, recreational fishing, escapes from aquaculture facilities and interconnection of waterways represent the main pathways of introduction into other locations.
HabitatTop of page
The common dace is a gregarious rheophilous and epipelagic fish species (Billard, 1993). Adults aggregate in dense swarms in winter in the lower reaches of rivers or backwaters and often migrate to spawning streams in autumn and overwinter there. Juveniles spend winter in cavities along the shores. The species inhabits shallow shoreline habitats as juveniles and faster-flowing waters as adults (Kottelat and Freyhof, 2007).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Freshwater||Irrigation channels||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Freshwater||Rivers / streams||Principal habitat||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Some genetic records were listed with the same values in South Pyrenees, former Yugoslavia and other unspecified localities. Haploid/gametic chromosome number (n) is 25, whereas diploid/zygotic chromosome number (2n) is 50-50 (Sofradzija, 1977; Hafez et al., 1978; Vasil’ev, 1980; Arkhipchuk, 1999). DNA analysis of this species is included in Perea et al. (2010).
Sokolov and Berdicheskii (1989) reported that common dace regularly undertake migration of some tens of kilometres to spawning sites, which are often situated in tributaries.
The species spawns for the first time at 2–3 years and standard length 11–14 cm (Cepkyn, 2002). Common dace usually spawns only once or twice during its life, in March-April when temperatures reach 5–10ºC (Zhukov, 1965). Males form large aggregations, each male defending a small territory. Females spawn only once a year and, in some populations, during a very short period (3-5 days). Females lay sticky eggs into excavations made in gravel. Fecundity is estimated at between 1550 and 22600 eggs (Zhukov, 1965; Movchan and Smirnov, 1981). Larvae feed along shores.
Physiology and Phenology
The water temperature tolerance range is 4-28ºC. The tolerance range for other water parameters has not yet been published.
L. leuciscus feeds on plants, small invertebrates and detritus (Kottelat and Freyhof, 2007). Diet composition may vary seasonally (Weatherly, 1987). The gut content of specimens captured in September in the River Dee, UK, is shown below:
|Natural food sources||Life stage||Contribution to total food intake %|
|Plants, benthic algae, weeds||49|
|Zoobenthos, aerial insects||Larval||18.5|
|Other plants, phytoplankton, diatoms||3.2|
|Zoobenthos, insects (Chironomidae)||Larval||1.2|
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Water TolerancesTop of page
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Velocity (cm/h)||Optimum||Prefers fast flowing waters|
|Water pH (pH)||6.0||8.0||Optimum|
|Water temperature (ºC temperature)||4||28||Optimum||Leuven et al., 2011|
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Buteo buteo||Predator||Adults; Nematodes|Juveniles|
|Circus aeruginosus||Predator||Adults; Nematodes|Juveniles|
|Esox lucius||Predator||Adults; Nematodes|Juveniles|
|Lota lota||Predator||Adults; Nematodes|Juveniles|
|Lutra lutra||Predator||Adults; Nematodes|Juveniles|
|Oncorhynchus mykiss||Predator||Adults; Nematodes|Juveniles|
|Perca fluviatilis||Predator||Adults; Nematodes|Juveniles|
|Phalacrocorax carbo||Predator||Adults; Nematodes|Juveniles|
|Salmo trutta fario||Predator||Adults; Nematodes|Juveniles|
|Strix aluco||Predator||Adults; Nematodes|Juveniles|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
All piscivorous animals, native or introduced, are potential natural enemies of the common dace.
Predation by Squalius cephalus (Cyprinidae), Lota lota (Lotidae), Perca fluviatilis (Percidae), Oncorhynchus mykiss and Salmo trutta (Salmonidae) has been reported in Germany (Wüstemann and Kammerad, 1995) and by Esox lucius (Esocidae) in the River Frome, UK (Maitland and Campbell, 1992).
Although fish are not the main prey item for many raptors, juveniles and adults of common dace have been found in the gut content of Buteo buteo, Circus aeruginosus,Milvus sp. and Strix aluco in Germany (Wüstemann and Kammerad, 1995). Otherwise, common dace can be a common prey item for specialized piscivorous raptors such as Haliaeetus albicilla and Pandion haliaetus and for other waterbirds (Podiceps sp., Phalacrocorax carbo,Ardea cinerea,Larus sp. and Alcedo atthis (Wüstemann and Kammerad, 1995).
Only one mammalian predator of common dace is reported: Lutra lutra (European otter; Procyonidae). It feeds on both juvenile and adult forms (Wüstemann and Kammerad, 1995).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
L. leuciscus is a potamodromous species (Riede, 2004). The range of migration is 10°W to 155°E and 72°N to 41°N.
Its small size added to its use as bait fish contribute to its dispersal.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Environmental ImpactTop of page
L. leuciscus does not represent a risk for humans but it may cause changes in ecosystems (i.e. altering food web structures and nutrient cycling). In Ireland, it threatens native salmonids because dace, trout and salmon have similar habitat preferences. In the Munster Blackwater, efforts have been made to improve the spawning grounds for salmonids, but dace have moved into the area in large numbers successfully competing against the salmonids for spawning sites and also for food (Caffrey et al., 2007). Common dace may predate on juveniles of native species and there is a risk of hybridization with closely related fish species, in particular with other members of the Leuciscus genus.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
- Highly mobile locally
- Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
- Long lived
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Altered trophic level
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Modification of natural benthic communities
- Rapid growth
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
The dace is considered a valuable species in aquaculture and as a bait fish species in recreational fishing. In Ireland it is also a target angling species with individual angling catches regularly in excess of 15 kg (Caffrey et al., 2007). It is not of interest to the aquarium trade.
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Sport (hunting, shooting, fishing, racing)
DiagnosisTop of page
The similar morphological traits between species of the Leuciscus genus require the aid of specialists to distinguish between them. The combination of morphological and genetic traits may also be necessary to ensure proper identification (particularly in juvenile specimens) and this procedure may also allow detection of hybrids.
Detection and InspectionTop of page
The existence of stowaway species mixed with valuable species in ornamental or any other live fish stocks is not uncommon. The live fish trade therefore requires careful inspection by specialists in order to detect undesirable organisms which are often not labelled. In addition, the regular monitoring of current waters allows managers to detect new fish introductions and to know the spread patterns of exotic species once introduced. This information helps resource managers to identify areas at high risk of invasion and to plan local eradication programmes when possible. Electrofishing is a widely recognized method to catch fish without damaging the ecosystem in current waters. Nets are a complementary sampling tool for surveys performed in lakes or reservoirs.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Common dace can be distinguished from congeners in Europe by the following morphological traits: subinferior or subterminal mouth; subequal jaw, upper jaw slightly longer; upper lip tip about level with centre of eye; not projecting snout; articulation of lower jaw distinctly behind anterior margin of eye; horizontal branch of preoperculum shorter than vertical branch; and 40-50 + 1-2 scales on lateral line (Billard, 1993). Rarely longer than 30 cm TL; normally 47-52 scales in lateral line; anal fin concave; caudal fin forked with 19 rays (Wüstemann and Kammerad, 1995).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Education programmes are needed to raise public awareness about the threats of introduced species to ecosystems. Regular monitoring of waters by trained specialists help to detect new invaders and newly invaded areas.
Complete eradication is almost impossible, particularly in large areas. Local extirpation of introduced fish species may be performed in areas of high conservation value and, in particular, in small streams where the probability of success increases.
Physical barriers and rotenone are commonly used to control small fish. Regular removal of specimens in small streams may mitigate the effect of exotic species.
Monitoring and Surveillance
Regular electrofishing surveys.
ReferencesTop of page
Allardi J; Keith P, 1991. Atlas préliminaire des poissons d’eau douce de France. Coll. Patrimoines Naturels, vol. 4. Paris: Secrétariat Faune Flore, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 234 pp.
Anon., 1999. Systematic list of Estonian fishes. World Wide Web Electronic Publication, 14 January 2000. http://bio.edu.ee/animals/Kalad/kalalist2.htm
Appeltans W; Bouchet P; Boxshall GA; Fauchald K; Gordon DP; Hoeksema BW; Poore GCB; Soest RWM van; Stöhr S; Walter TC; Costello MJ, 2011. World Register of Marine Species. http://www.marinespecies.org
Arkhipchuk VV, 1999. Chromosome database. Database of Dr. Victor Arkhipchuk. Ukraine.
Billard R, 1997. Les poissons d’eau douce des rivieres de France. Identification, inventaire et repartition des 83 especes. Lausanne: Delachaux and Niestle, 192 pp.
Caffrey JM; Hayden B; Walsh T, 2007. Dace (Leuciscus leuciscus L.): an invasive fish species in Ireland. Irish Freshwater Fisheries, Ecology and Management, No. 5. Dublin, Ireland: Central Fisheries Board.
Cepkyn EA, 2002. Leuciscus leuciscus (Linnaeus, 1758). In: Atlas of Russian Freshwater Fishes. Vol. 1 [ed. by Reshetnikov YuS]. Moscow, Russia: Nauka, 277-279.
Coad BW, 1981. Fishes of Afghanistan, an annotated check-list. Publications in Zoology, National Museums of Canada, 14:23.
Gerstmeier R; Romig T, 1998. Die Süßwasserfische Europas: für Naturfreunde und Angler. Stuttgart, Germany: Franckh-Kosmos Verlag, 368 pp.
Hafez R; Labat R; Quillier R, 1978. Cytogenetic study of some species of Cyprinidae from the Midi-Pyrenees region. (Etude cytogenetique chez quelques especes de cyprinides de la region Midi-Pyrenees.) Bulletin de la Societe d'Histoire Naturelle de Toulouse, 114(1/2):122-159.
Keith P; Allardi J, 2001. Atlas des poissons d’eau douce de France. Patrimoines naturels, 47. Paris, France: MNHN, 387 pp.
Koli L, 1990. Suomen kalat. [Fishes of Finland]. Werner Soderstrom Osakeyhtio. Helsinki. 357 pp.
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Perea S; Böhme M; Zupancic P; Freyhof J; Sanda R; Ozulug M; Abdoli A; Doadrio I, 2010. Phylogenetic relationships and biogeographical patterns in Circum-Mediterranean Subfamily Leuciscinae (Teleostei, Cyprinidae) inferred from both mitochondrial and nuclear data. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 10:265.
Ratnasingham S; Hebert PDN, 2007. BOLD : The Barcode of Life Data System (www.barcodinglife.org). Molecular Ecology Notes, 7:355-364.
Reshetnikov YS; Bogutskaya NG; Vasil'eva ED; Dorofeeva EA; Naseka AM; Popova OA; Savvaitova KA; Sideleva VG; Sokolov LI, 1997. An annotated check-list of the freshwater fishes of Russia. J. Ichthyol, 37(9):687-736.
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Sokolov LI; Berdicheskii LS, 1989. Acipenseridae. In: The freshwater fishes of Europe. Vol. 1, Part II. General introduction to fishes Acipenseriformes [ed. by Holcík, J.]., Germany: AULA-Verlag Wiesbaden, 150-153.
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Koli L, 1990. Fishes of Finland. (Suomen kalat)., Helsinki, Werner Soderstrom Osakeyhtio. 357 pp.
Reshetnikov Y S, Bogutskaya N G, Vasil'eva E D, Dorofeeva E A, Naseka A M, Popova O A, Savvaitova K A, Sideleva V G, Sokolov L I, 1997. An annotated check-list of the freshwater fishes of Russia. Journal of Ichthyology. 37 (9), 687-736.
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Spratte S, Hartmann U, 1997. [English title not available]. (Fischartenkataster: Süsswasserfische und Neunaugen in Schleswig-Holstein. Ministerium für ländliche Räume, Landwirtschaft, Ernährung und Tourismus, Kiel Germany)., [ed. by Froese R, Pauly D]. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. http://www.fishbase.org
Went AEJ, 1957. List of Irish fishes., Dublin, Ireland: Department of Lands, Fisheries Division, Dublin. 31 pp.
Wheeler AC, 1975. Fishes of the world: an illustrated dictionary., New York, USA: Macmillan. 366 pp.
Winkler H M, Skora K, Repecka R, Ploks M, Neelov A, Urho L, Gushin A, Jespersen H, 2000. Checklist and status of fish species in the Baltic Sea. In: Checklist and status of fish species in the Baltic Sea. 15 pp.
OrganizationsTop of page
Italy: FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, http://www.fao.org/
ContributorsTop of page
04/01/12 Original text by:
Mònica Utjés Mascó, Department of Animal Biology & Research Institute of Biodiversity (IrBio), Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona, Avda Diagonal, 643. E-08028 Barcelona, Spain
Alberto Maceda Veiga, Department of Animal Biology & Research Institute of Biodiversity (IrBio), Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona, Avda Diagonal, 643. E-08028 Barcelona, Spain
The names of reviewers are available from CABI on request
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One or more of the features that are needed to show you the maps functionality are not available in the web browser that you are using.
Please consider upgrading your browser to the latest version or installing a new browser.
More information about modern web browsers can be found at http://browsehappy.com/