Aspius aspius (asp)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Detection and Inspection
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Aspius aspius (Linnaeus, 1758)
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Alburnus iblioides Kessler, 1872
- Aspius aspius aspius (Linnaeus, 1758)
- Aspius aspius iblioides (Kessler, 1872)
- Aspius aspius taeniatus (Eichwald, 1831)
- Aspius aspius taeniatus iblioides phragmiteti Berg, 1932
- Aspius erytrostomus Kessler, 1877
- Aspius linnei Malm, 1877
- Aspius rapax Agassiz, 1835
- Aspius rapax jaxartensis Kessler, 1874
- Aspius transcaucasius Warpachovski, 1896
- Aspius vulgaris Leiblein, 1853
- Cyprinus aspius Linnaeus, 1758
- Cyprinus rapax Leske, 1774
- Cyprinus rapax Pallas, 1914
- Cyprinus taeniatus Eichwald, 1831
- Leuciscus aspius Linnaeus, 1758
International Common Names
- Spanish: aspio
- French: aspe
- Russian: zerekh; zherekh; zherekh obyknovennyi
Local Common Names
- Austria: schied
- Bulgaria: rasper; razper
- Czech Republic: bolen; bolen dravý; bolen obecný
- Denmark: asp
- Estonia: tõugjas
- Finland: toutain
- Germany: Dickkopf; Diebel; Hartkopf; Kaspischer Rapfen; Lachsfisch; Mulbe; Mülbe; Mülpe; Raape; Raapf; Rapen; Rapfen; Rapis; Rappe; Ritter; Rombalet; Rotschiedel; Salat; Schied; Schiegg; Schiek; Schier; Schirm; Schutt; Weißfisch; Zalat
- Greece: asprogrivado
- Hungary: balin
- Iran: khasham; mash mahi; mashmahi
- Latvia: salate
- Lithuania: salatis
- Netherlands: roofblei; roofblei
- Norway: asp
- Poland: bolen
- Portugal: áspio
- Romania: aun; avat; butoi; gonaci; guran; haut; peste-lup
- Serbia: bolen; bucov
- Slovakia: bolen obycajný; bolen obycajný
- Slovenia: bolen
- Sweden: asp
- Turkey: kocaagiz baligi
- Ukraine: bilyzna
- USA: rapfen; schied
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
A. aspius is classified on the IUCN Red List as a species of ‘Least concern’, though locally threatened by river engineering projects. Even though this species has been introduced into many regions within Europe for fisheries, it has struggled to establish in most areas (Marmcarz et al., 2008). Therefore, there is currently very limited information about the history of this species being introduced and the only report of the species being invasive, is that of Freyhof (2002) for the Rhine drainage basin. Although it is classified as ‘non-invasive’ on Fishbase (http://www.fishbase.org/), a risk screening of A. aspius using the Fish Invasiveness Scoring Kit (FISK; Copp et al., 2009) ranked the species to be of moderately high invasiveness risk (i.e. a mean FISK score of 28.6, whereby the high risk category ranges from 19 to 54). Where it has been introduced, such as in the River Murgab (Turkmenistan), Aspius aspius failed to establish successfully (Burmakin, 1963). Although not considered to be invasive, this species showed that after introduction to Lake Balkhash, almost 100% of the A. aspius diet changed to Mysidae (Malinovskaya et al., 1977).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Cypriniformes
- Family: Cyprinidae
- Genus: Aspius
- Species: Aspius aspius
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
A recent study of phylogenetic relationships within the Leuciscinae (Perea et al., 2010) suggests that the species A. aspius may need to be included within the Genus Leuciscus, though this change has yet to be accepted more widely (e.g. www.fishbase.org).
DescriptionTop of page
A. aspius has a body that is long and laterally compressed, with a long pointed snout, with a silvery colour over most of its body, with the back blackish-olive or greenish-grey. The iris is silvery, with a narrow golden circle around the pupil and a little grey pigment on the upper half. Its lips are silvery with a little grey over the upper one; however, both lips and iris are often bright red. The dorsal and caudal fins are grey and the other fins are transparent without pigment (Keith and Allardi, 2001), and the peritoneum is usually silvery to brown (Coad, 2011). The dorsal fin has 7–10 branched rays, usually 8, followed by 2–3, usually 3, unbranched rays. The anal fin has 11–15 branched rays, usually 12, followed by 3–4, usually 3, unbranched rays. The pectoral fin has 14–17 branched rays and the pelvic has 7–9 fin rays. The scales have a central focus, fine circuli and few posterior and anterior radii, with lateral line scales numbering between 64 and 76. There is also a pelvic axillary scale and a scaled keel behind the pelvic fins. The lower jaw tip projects and fits into a notch in the upper jaw. Gill rakers usually number between 9–14, and are very short and club-shaped, almost reaching half way to the raker below when appressed. Gill membranes are narrowly attached to the isthmus, almost under the posterior eye margin. The species has pharyngeal teeth usually 3,5–5,3, sometimes 2,5–5,3 or with 6 teeth in the main row. The pharyngeal teeth are elongate, compressed and obviously hooked (Coad, 2011).
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.
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
A. aspius is found from the Rhine and north of the Alps in Europe to the drainages of the Black, Caspian and Aral seas including their southern shores. The main introductions of this species are due to both aquaculture and fisheries. Since the 1980s, it has been introduced in Belgium (Verreycken et al., 2007), in the Netherlands in 1984 (de Groot, 1985), and in France in 1991 (Schweyer et al., 1991; Keith and Allardi, 2001). In Germany, A. aspius was originally introduced to the Rhine, where its range has expanded, and it has sporadically been reported from the Dutch part of the River Meuse since 1984 (Crombaghs et al., 2000). First reported in the Flemish Meuse in 2002, A. aspius is occasionally captured from the river by recreational anglers (Gaethofs, 2004), with specimens as small as 100–150 mm reported, which suggests the species is now reproducing (Verreycken et al., 2007). Between 1957 and 1958, nine specimens from the Caspian Sea were accidentally introduced to Lake Balkhash (Karpevich, 1975; Davydova, 1984). In 1964, in the western part of this lake, asp fry were observed (Pivnev et al., 1972). In 1969, the first spawning migration to the river Ili was observed (Mitrofanov et al., 1987). Between 1971 and 1986, 49,000 asp specimens were introduced in the Kapchagay Reservoir on the River Ili (Isaev and Karpova, 1989). There were attempts to stock asp in China (Walker and Yang, 1999) , Italy (Bernini et al., 2005), and Belgium (Verreycken et al., 2007).
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Belgium||Eastern Europe||1984||Yes||Froese and Pauly (2011); Verreycken et al. (2007)|
|China||Yes||Froese and Pauly (2011)||Probably established|
|Cyprus||Czechoslovakia (former)||1990||Yes||Froese and Pauly (2011)||Probably established|
|France||1990-97||Yes||Froese and Pauly (2011)|
|Italy||Yes||Froese and Pauly (2011)|
|Kazakhstan||1957-58||Froese and Pauly (2011)|
|Netherlands||Germany||1984||Yes||Crombaghs et al. (2000)|
|Switzerland||Germany||1994||Yes||Froese and Pauly (2011)|
HabitatTop of page
A. aspius is a riverine species that inhabits main channels, side channels and backwaters (Hajdú and Kovác, 2002; Valová et al., 2006; Telcean and Cupsa, 2009). It spends the winter in deep holes, emerging in spring when rivers flood and moving to the spawning grounds. These grounds include river channels, open lake areas with substantial flow and only rarely places weakly overgrown with very coarse submerged vegetation such as reeds and rushes (Shikhshabekov, 1979).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Inland saline areas||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Lagoons||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Irrigation channels||Present, no further details||Productive/non-natural|
|Rivers / streams||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Ponds||Present, no further details||Productive/non-natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The chromosome number is 2n=50-52. The DNA analysis of this species is reported by Perea et al. (2010).
Asp migrate upstream for spawning (Ciolac, 2004), which occurs from April to June, with about twice as many fish during mornings compared with afternoons (Kotusz et al., 2006). Spawning takes place in fast-flowing water on sandy or pebble substrate (Maitland, 1977; Križek and Vostradovsky, 2002; Fredrich, 2003; Kompowski and Neja, 2004), with Hladík and Kubecka (2004) stating that A. aspius is an obligatory tributary spawner. The eggs adhere to gravel or submerged vegetation. Optimal spawning temperature is between 8 and 10°C (Križek and Vostradovsky, 2002), though Muus (1971) reports this to be 4.5–14.5°C, with optimal hatching temperature reported to be 12.8°C (Kujawa et al., 1997). Incubation lasts for 10–15 days, with the female usually laying 58,000–500,000 eggs which are ≈1.6 mm in diameter (Berg et al., 1949; Maitland, 1977). After the eggs hatch, the larvae are 4.9–5.9 mm long (Berg et al., 1949). See also Kujawa and Kucharczyk (1994); Kucharczyk et al. (1998); Kujawa et al. (1997, 1998, 2001). Sexual maturity is reached after 4-5 years.
Physiology and Phenology
Bobák and Slechta (1988) examined the electrophoretic patterns of parvalbumins in 13 species of cyprinid fishes, including A. aspius, and the patterns are species-specific, with species within the same subfamilies usually having similar distribution of parvalbumin components II, III, IV and V. Molecular and morphological data suggest that Aspius might have to be included in the genus Leuciscus (Kottelat and Freyhof, 2007).
The asp is the only piscivorous species in the family Cyprinidae. In its early juvenile phase feeds on crustaceans, bottom fauna, terrestrial insects that have fallen into the water, and fish larvae (Maitland, 1977). The most important food item for adults is bleak Alburnus alburnus, followed by roach Rutilus rutilus, and goldfish Carassius auratus; older asp are also able to handle fish not easily caught by younger asp due to the presence of spines, such as perch Perca fluviatilis, ruffe Gymnocephalus cernuus, and monkey goby Neogobius fluviatilis, or of a deep body, such as ide Leuciscus idus (Krpo-Cetkovic et al., 2010). The asp also feeds on Osmerus eperlanus, Gasterosteus sp., Gobio gobio, Leuciscus cephalus, Chondrostoma nasus, and Leucaspius delineatus (Trzebiatowski & Leszczewicz, 1976). Further comments on the food items consumed by A. aspius can be found in Kottelat and Freyhof (2007). Their growth and survival under controlled conditions have been examined (Zarski et al., 2008), and studies of gut morphology (Junger et al., 1989) revealed that A. aspius has smooth surface folding in its intestinal bulb, which is only loosely related to feeding.
Molnár and Jalali (1992) record the monogenean Dactylogyrus tuba from this species in the Sefid-Rud (Iran). Masoumian et al. (2005) report the protozoan parasite Chilodonella sp. from this species in the Aras Dam in West Azerbaijan. Masoumian et al. (2002) investigated parasites from this fish in the Aras and Mahabad dams in northwest Iran and found the protozoan Myxobolus dispar. Sattari (2004) records the presence of the nematode, Eustrongylides excisus, in the body cavity. Sattari et al. (2002, 2004, 2005) and Sattari (2004) records the presence of the nematode, Eustrongylides excisus. Pazooki et al. (2007) recorded various parasites from localities in West Azerbaijan Province, including Argulus foliaceus from this species.
Temperate; 4°C–20°C, 66°N–35°N, 3°E–72°E (Baensch and Riehl, 1991).
ClimateTop of page
|C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate||Tolerated||Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C|
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter||Preferred||Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)|
|D - Continental/Microthermal climate||Tolerated||Continental/Microthermal climate (Average temp. of coldest month < 0°C, mean warmest month > 10°C)|
|Ds - Continental climate with dry summer||Tolerated||Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)|
|Dw - Continental climate with dry winter||Tolerated||Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)|
Natural enemiesTop of page
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
Young of the year are washed downstream by water as drift (Reichard et al., 2001), adults are naturally dispersed through migration.
Introduced for angling as well as through the aquaculture industry.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
A. aspius is mainly used for sports fisheries, so there is an economic benefit for individual fishermen as well as the creation of jobs in the aquacutlure industry; this fish is also taken in Iran as food but comprises only a small portion of the catch.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
A. aspius was intentionally introduced for aquaculture and sport fisheries beginning in the late twentieth century. This species has a relatively short history of introductions, and there is little evidence of adverse impacts in the receiving waters, though numerous impacts on fish populations have been suggested (see Coad, 2011) for the regions where it has been introduced. Kottelat and Freyhof (2007) mention that the asp regularly hybridises with the ide Leuciscus idus.
Social ImpactTop of page
In addition to its value for individual fishermen, recreational fishing and tourism may create a demand not only for food, accommodation and transportation, but also for related recreational activities such as camping, boating, canoeing, etc; all of which may provide economic opportunities locally.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- 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
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
- Difficult/costly to control
Uses ListTop of page
- Sport (hunting, shooting, fishing, racing)
Detection and InspectionTop of page
This is the only species of Aspius in Europe, and is also one of the rare cyprinids which is a piscivore. For more information on identification see section on Description.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
No specific information available, but general principles are given in Britton et al. (2010). For chemical control rotenone is assumed to be effective and telemetry is expected to be useful for surveillance
ReferencesTop of page
Baensch HA; Riehl R, 1991. Aquarian atlas. Bd. 3. Melle, Germany: Mergus, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde, 1104 pp.
Berg LS; Bogdanov AS; Kozin NI; Rass TS, 1949. [Commercial fishes of the USSR]. Moskva, Russia: Piscepromizdat, 788 pp.
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Bobák P; Slechta V, 1988. Comparison of parvalbumin of some species of family Cyprinidae. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 91B:697-699.
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Krpo-Cetkovic J; Hegedis A; Lenhardt M, 2010. Diet and growth of asp, Aspius aspius (Linnaeus, 1758), in the Danube River near the confluence with the Sava River (Serbia). J. Appl. Ichthyol, 26:513-521.
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Telcean IC; Cupsa D, 2009. The backwaters and drainage canals as natural refuges for the lowland rivers' fish fauna (Somes, Crisuri, and Mures Rivers - north-western Romania). Biharean Biologist, 3(1):37-44.
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Verreycken H; Anseeuw D; Thuyne Gvan; Quataert P; Belpaire C, 2007. The non-indigenous freshwater fishes of Flanders (Belgium): review, status and trends over the last decade. Journal of Fish Biology, 71(Suppl. D):160-172. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2007.01679.x
Zarski D; Kucharczyk D; Kwiatkowski M; Targonska K; Kupren K; Krejszeff S; Jamróz M; Hakuc-B
ContributorsTop of page
10/10/11 Original text by:
Gordon Copp, CEFAS, Salmon and Freshwater Team, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 0HT, UK
Michael Godard, Consultant, UK
Reviewers' names are available on request.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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