Alburnus alburnus (bleak)
- 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
- 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
- Alburnus alburnus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Abramis alburnus (Linnaeus, 1758)
- Alborella maxima Fatio, 1882
- Alburnus acutus Bonaparte, 1845
- Alburnus alborella (Filippi, 1844)
- Alburnus alborella lateristriga Canestrini, 1864
- Alburnus alburnus alborella (De Filippi, 1844)
- Alburnus alburnus alburnus (Linnaeus, 1758)
- Alburnus alburnus charusini dagestanicus Petrov, 1926
- Alburnus alburnus hohenackerkumbaschensis Petrov, 1926
- Alburnus alburnus macedonicus Karaman, 1928
- Alburnus alburnus strumicae Karaman, 1955
- Alburnus alburnus thessalicus Stephanidis, 1950
- Alburnus arquatus Fatio, 1882
- Alburnus ausonii Bonaparte, 1844
- Alburnus avola Bonaparte, 1846
- Alburnus breviceps Heckel & Kner, 1858
- Alburnus charusini Herzenstein, 1889
- Alburnus fabraei Blanchard, 1866
- Alburnus fracchia Bonaparte, 1845
- Alburnus fracchia Heckel & Kner, 1858
- Alburnus gracilis Bonaparte, 1845
- Alburnus linnei Malm, 1877
- Alburnus lucidus Bonaparte, 1844
- Alburnus lucidus Heckel, 1843
- Alburnus lucidus angustior Walecki, 1864
- Alburnus lucidus colobocephala Fatio, 1882
- Alburnus lucidus elata Fatio, 1882
- Alburnus lucidus elongata Fatio, 1882
- Alburnus lucidus ilmenensis Warpachowski, 1886
- Alburnus lucidus lacustris Heckel & Kner, 1858
- Alburnus lucidus latior Walecki, 1864
- Alburnus lucidus macropterus Kamensky, 1901
- Alburnus lucidus oxycephala Fatio, 1882
- Alburnus mirandella Blanchard, 1866
- Alburnus obtusus Bonaparte, 1845
- Alburnus scoranza (non Heckel & Kner, 1858)
- Alburnus scoranza Bonaparte, 1845
- Alburnus scoranzoides Heckel & Kner, 1858
- Alburnus striatus Petrov, 1926
- Alburnus strigio Bonaparte, 1845
- Aspius alborella De Filippi, 1844
- Aspius alburnoides Selys-longchamps, 1842
- Aspius arborella Bonaparte, 1841
- Aspius ochrodon Fitzinger, 1832
- Cyprinus albor Scopoli, 1786
- Cyprinus alburnus Linnaeus, 1758
- Cyprinus lanceolatus (non Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
- Cyprinus lanceolatus Bloch, 1801
- Leuciscus alburnellus (non De Filippi, 1844)
- Leuciscus alburnellus Martens, 1857
- Leuciscus alburnus (Linnaeus, 1758)
- Leuciscus dolabratus Valenciennes, 1844
- Leuciscus lucidus ilmenensis Warpachowski, 1886
International Common Names
- Spanish: albur; alburno
- French: ablé; ablette; ablette; blanchet; bleue; coureur; garlesco; laube; mirandelle; nablé; nablo; ravanesco; sardine
- Russian: ukleika; ukleika; ukleya
Local Common Names
- Austria: Ukelei
- Belgium: ablette commun; alver
- Bulgaria: ucleyka
- Czech Republic: belicka; ouklej obecná
- Denmark: løje; milling
- Finland: salakka
- Germany: Lang-Bleck; Laube; Meefischli; Ukelei; Weißfisch
- Greece: sirko; tsironi sirko
- Hungary: szélhajtó küsz
- Iran: kuli Irani; mahi Morvarid; morvaridmahi
- Italy: alborella
- Netherlands: alver
- Norway: laue; løye
- Poland: ukleja
- Portugal: ruivaca
- Romania: oblet
- Slovakia: belicka obycajná
- Slovenia: zelenika
- Sweden: benlöja; löja
- Switzerland: Laube; Ukelei
- Turkey: inci baligi
- UK/England and Wales: gorwyniad
- Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro): plasica; uklija; ukljeva
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
The bleak is a European freshwater cyprinid which has been introduced from the UK to Cyprus, where it established and bred (Lever, 1990). In the 1990s, it was introduced into the Iberian Peninsula and has since spread rapidly. In Cyprus, its high fecundity allows the bleak to form dense shoals and outcompete other species (Welcomme, 1988). It is also tolerant of anthropogenic pressures such as habitat degradation and poor water quality (Maceda and Sostoa, 2011). Humans may also facilitate its spread due to its value as a bait and forage species in recreational fishing, thus replacing natural fish assemblages by increasingly artificial ones (Vinyoles et al., 2007). In addition, increasing human water demands has led to the creation of artificial connections between watersheds which has facilitated the spread of the aquatic fauna that inhabit them (Doadrio, 2001).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Cypriniformes
- Family: Cyprinidae
- Genus: Alburnus
- Species: Alburnus alburnus
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
The present genus Alburnus includes species of the former genera Alburnus and Chalcalburnus.
DescriptionTop of page
The maximum length and weight reported for A. alburnus are 25 cm and 60 g, respectively. The average size is 15 cm (Billard, 1997). Dorsal spines: 2-4; dorsal soft rays: 7-9; anal spines: 3; anal soft rays: 14-20; vertebrae: 41-44; caudal fin with 19 rays (Froese and Pauly, 2011). According to Kottelat and Freyhof (2007), the following
l traits can distinguish A. alburnus from other species: anal origin below branched dorsal rays 4-5, 45-48+3 lateral line scales, 17-20½ branched anal rays, 16-22 gill rakers, ventral keel exposed from anus to pelvic base, and lateral stripe absent in life, faint or absent in preserved individuals and mouth slightly superior.
DistributionTop of page
A. alburnus is a native species in most of Europe north of the Caucasus, Pyrenees and Alps, and eastward to the Urals and Emba (Kottelat and Freyhof, 2007). It has been introduced to Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
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
Bleak was detected for the first time in the Iberian Peninsular in 1992 in a sampling site located in a tributary of the Ebro River. Since then, it has been found in several boundaries from the Iberian Peninsula (see Maceda-Veiga et al., 2010 and Vinyoles et al., 2007 for further details).
In June 1992, bleak was collected for the first time in the River Noguera Ribagorzana, a tributary of the Ebro basin, where it became established (Elvira, 1995). Four years later, it was also collected in five rivers of this basin (Cinca, Segre, Jalon, Guadalope and Matarranya) (CHE, 1997). In 1997 it was recorded for the first time in river basins from the Eastern Pyrenees slope (Muga River, northeastern Spain) (Cardona et al., 2002). Doadrio (2001) documented this expansion in the Ebro basin and in Mediterranean rivers from eastern Spain (Jucar, Turia and Mijares).
Around 1999, bleak appeared in two other major Iberian basins: the Douro in the north (Tormes River) (Velasco et al., 2005) and the Guadiana in the south (Campo Maior reservoir, Portugal; Perez-Bote et al., 2004). According to Carol et al. (2003), in 2003, bleak was also introduced into several reservoirs located in three basins of the Eastern Pyrenees (Foix, Llobregat and Ter). More recently, bleak was recorded from three reservoirs of the Douro basin (Velasco et al., 2005), in the Segura basin (southeastern Spain; Andreu-Soler et al., 2004) and in two additional reservoirs in the Guadiana basin in Spain (Perez-Bote et al., 2004).
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Cyprus||Hunting, angling, sport or racing (pathway cause)||Yes||Yes||Welcomme (1988)|
|Italy||Hunting, angling, sport or racing (pathway cause)||Yes||Yes||Kottelat and Freyhof (2007)|
|Norway||Muus and Dahlstrom (1968); Muus and Dahlström (1968)||Its establishment is questionable|
|Portugal||Hunting, angling, sport or racing (pathway cause)||Yes||Yes||Kottelat and Freyhof (2007)|
|Spain||1992||Hunting, angling, sport or racing (pathway cause)||Yes||Yes||Elvira (1998)|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
The bleak is without interest to the aquarium trade, but is widely used as bait in recreational fishing of game-fish (i.e. mainly predator fish). It is also used as a food supply (i.e. forage species) for stocks of introduced predators (e.g. black bass (Micropterus spp.). The main pathway of fish introductions is through recreational fishing in many developed countries; therefore, angling is the main activity responsible for the presence of bleak in watersheds. Due to its high mobility, interconnections between watersheds also present a risk of further spread.
HabitatTop of page
The bleak is a gregarious limnophilous and epipelagic fish species. It can be found in deep and shallow water from rivers and reservoirs (Kottelat and Freyhof, 2007). Larvae inhabit the littoral zone of rivers, lakes or reservoirs.
Habitat ListTop of page
|Irrigation channels||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Lakes||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Reservoirs||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rivers / streams||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rivers / streams||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
DNA analyses of this species are included in Perea et al. (2010).
A. alburnus is a gregarious fish species and reaches sexual maturity at 2-3 years. It spawns in shallow riffles or along stony shores of lakes, occasionally above submerged vegetation. In Europe, the main spawning period is from May to August (but may start earlier, see Froese and Pauly, 2011), at temperatures above 12ºC, 2-3 times at 1-2 week intervals in the early morning (Kotellat and Freyhof, 2007). It has high fecundity (1500-14695 eggs/female; Politou, 1993).
Population Size and Density
Forms dense shoals.
Adults are pelagic, mainly feeding on zooplankton (grazer specialist) (Billard, 1997). The fish can also prey on drifting insects or invertebrates that have fallen on the water's surface and on benthic macroinvertebrates (Kottelat and Freyhof, 2007; Maceda-Veiga et al., 2010).
Several studies have considered bleak tolerant of anthropogenic degradation (i.e. poor physical habitat and water quality) (e.g. Maceda-Veiga and Sostoa, 2011). Detailed studies on water tolerances have not been conducted.
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
All piscivorous animals, native or introduced, are potential natural enemies of the bleak.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
The pattern of movement of bleak has not been studied, but movement is likely to be assisted by humans. The species is of interest in recreational fishing, which may be the main pathway of dispersal outside its native range. Interconnection among waterways also facilitates the colonization of new boundaries.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Introduced A. alburnus does not represent a risk for humans but it may cause changes in ecosystems (i.e. altering food web structures and nutrient cycling). It has been proven to hybridize very easily with other cyprinids (Blachuta and Witkowski, 1984; Crivelli and Dupont, 1987), namely with species of Squalius (Wheeler, 1978; Witkowski and Blachuta, 1980; Kammerad and Wuestemann, 1989). There is great concern about possible hybridization with closely related endangered species (Vinyoles et al., 2007).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Highly mobile locally
- Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
- Long lived
- 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 bleak is of no interest to the aquarium trade, but is considered a valuable species in recreational fishing. Scales were previously utilized in making Essence d"Orient, a coating for artificial pearls.
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Sport (hunting, shooting, fishing, racing)
DiagnosisTop of page
The similar morphological traits between species of the Alburnus genus means that specialists may be needed for identification and for the detection of possible hybridizations. A combination of morphological and genetic traits may also be necessary to ensure proper identification where various bleak species coexist: this procedure may also allow detection of hybrids. However, it is easy to identify that a species belongs to the genus Alburnus.
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 labeled. 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 programs 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, the main habitat of bleak.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Species within the genus Alburnus are quite similar, and the help of a taxonomist is required for proper identification.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Complete eradication is almost impossible when an exotic aquatic species is introduced and established. Therefore, prevention is the best management option to avoid future invasions. The careful examination of live fish stocks may avoid the introduction of this and other undesirable species. These inspections are not always carried out and are often not performed by properly trained people. The taxonomic particularities of some fish species requires the aid of specialists.
Biological invasions are also a social problem, and it is therefore necessary to carry out educational programmes to inform people about the threats of the introduced species to ecosystems. In addition, the exploitation of exotic resources may be forbidden because it enhances the introduction of further exotic species and the maintenance of existing populations of introduced species. Local extirpation of introduced fish species may be performed in areas of high conservation value areas and, in particular, in small streams where the probability of success increases.
Regular monitoring of current waters can be used to detect new invaders and newly invaded areas. Education programmes can be used to raise public awareness about the threats of introduced species to ecosystems.
Complete eradication is almost impossible, particularly in large areas. Nevertheless, regular removal of specimens in small streams may mitigate the effect of exotic species, and it may sometimes also be possible to eradicate introduced species in these areas.
Physical barriers and rotenone are commonly used to control small fish.
Monitoring and Surveillance
Regular electrofishing surveys.
ReferencesTop of page
Andreu-Soler A; Oliva-Paterna FJ; Verdiell D; Torralva M, 2004. [English title not available]. (Primeras citas de Alburnus alburnus (Linnaeus, 1758) y Tinca tinca (Linnaeus,1758) (Actinopterygii, Cyprinidae) en la cuenca del rio Segura (Murcia, sudeste de la Peninsula Iberica).) Anales de Biología, 26:222-224.
Anon., 1999. Systematic list of Estonian fishes. World Wide Web Electronic Publication, 14 January 2000. http://bio.edu.ee/animals/Kalad/kalalist2.htm
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.
Blachuta J; Witkowski A, 1984. Natural hybrids Alburnus alburnus (L.) X Rutilus rutilus (L.), Alburnus alburnus (L.) X Blicca bjoerkna (L.) and Alburnus alburnus (L.) X Abramis brama (L.) from the Oder river. Acta Hydrobiologica, 25/26:189-203.
Blanc M; Gaudet JL; Banarescu P; Hureau JC, 1971. European inland water fish: a multilingual catalogue. London: Fishing News (Books) Ltd.
Bogutskaya NG, 1997. Contribution to the knowledge of leuciscine fishes of Asia Minor. An annotated checklist of leuciscine fishes (Leuciscinae, Cyprinidae) of Turkey with descriptions of a new species and two new subspecies. Mitt. Hamb. Zool. Mus. Inst. 94:161-186.
Cardona L; Hereu B; Torras X; Royo P, 2002. [English title not available]. (Primera cita de l'alburn (Alburnus albnurnus L.) i noves dades sobre la presencia de la madrilleta vera (Rutilus rutilus L.) a la Muga.) Butlletí de la Institució Catalana d'Història Natural, 70:111-112.
Carol J; Benejam L; Pou-Rovira Q; Zamora L; Garcia-Berthou E, 2003. [English title not available]. (Primera citacio de brema blanca (Abramis bjoerkna) a Catalunya i noves introduccions de peixos exotics (Alburnus alburnus, Sander lucioperca i Silurus glanis) a diverses conques catalanes.) Butlletí de la Institució Catalana d'Història Natural, 71:135-136.
CHE, 1997. [English title not available]. (Síntesis de los trabajos preliminares para la determinación de las necesidades ecológicas mínimas en la cuenca del Ebro.) . Madrid, Spain: Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro (CHE): Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, 16 pp.
Crivelli AJ; Dupont F, 1987. Biometrical and biological features of Alburnus alburnus x Rutilus rubilio natural hybrids from Lake Mikri Prespa, northern Greece. Journal of Fish Biology, 31:721.
Doadrio I, 2001. Atlas y libro rojo de los peces continentales de España. Madrid, Spain: Organismo Autónomo Parques, 358 pp.
Elvira B, 1998. Impact of introduced fish on the native freshwater fish fauna of Spain. In: Stocking and Introduction of Fish [ed. by Cowx, I. G.]. Oxford, UK: Fishing News Books, Blackwell Science Ltd., 186-190.
Froese R; Pauly D, 2004. FishBase DVD. Penang, Malaysia: Worldfish Center. Online at www.fishbase.org.
Kammerad B; Wuestemann O, 1989. Occurrence of a hybrid between dace Leuciscus leuciscus and bleak Alburnus alburnus Teleostei Cyprinidae. Zoologischer Anzeiger, 222:170-176.
Keith P; Allardi J, 2001. Atlas des poissons d’eau douce de France. Patrimoines naturels, 47. Paris, France: MNHN, 387 pp.
Lever C, 1990. Naturalized fishes of the world. London, UK: Academic Press, 408 pp.
Lusk S; Hanel L, 2000. The Red List of lampreys and fishes in the Czech Republic - Version 2000. Biodiverzita ichtyofauny, CR(III):5-13.
Maceda-Veiga A; Sostoa A de; Solorio-Ornelas E; Monroy M; Vinyoles D; Caiola N; Casals F; Garcia-Berthou E; Munné A, 2010. Distribution of alien bleak Alburnus alburnus (Linnaeus, 1758) in the northeastern Iberian Mediterranean watersheds : past and present. In: Atlas of Biodiveristy Risk (ALARM Atlas) [ed. by Settele, J. \Penev, L. \Georgiev, T. \Grabaum, R. \Grobelnik, V. \Hammen, V. \Klotz, S. \Kotarac Kühn, M. &. I.]. Pensoft Publishers, 144-145.
Maitland PS; Campbell RN, 1992. Freshwater fishes of the British Isles. London: Harper Collins, 420 pp.
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.
Perez-Bote JL; Roso R; Pula HJ; Diaz F; Lopez MT, 2004. [English title not available]. (Primeras citas de la lucioperca,Sander (=Stizostedion) lucioperca (Linnaeus, 1758) y del alburno, Alburnus alburnus (Linnaeus, 1758) en las cuencas extremenas de los rios Tajo y Guadiana, SO de la Peninsula Iberica.) Anales de Biología, 26:93-100.
Politou C-Y, 1993. Biology and dynamics of the fish Alburnus alburnus (L. 1758) in lake Koronia. PhD dissertation. Thessaloniki, Greece: University of Thessaloniki, 134 pp.
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. Journal of Ichthyology, 37:687-736.
Simonovic P, 2001. Ribe Srbije. Belgrade, Serbia: Zavod za zastitu prirode Srbije i Bioloski faultet Univerziteta u Beogradu., 1237 pp.
Velasco JC, 2005. Lizana, J. Roman, M. Delibes & J. Fernandez (eds. Guía de los Peces, Anfibios, Reptiles y Mamíferos de Castilla y León. Nayade. (Peces.) Guía de los Peces, Anfibios, Reptiles y Mamíferos de Castilla y León. [Medina del Campo: 64.]
Vinyoles D; Robalo JI; Sostoa A de; Almodóvar A; Elvira E; Nicola GG; Fernández-Delgado C; Santos CS; Doadrio I; Sardà-Palomera F; Almada VC, 2007. Spread of the alien bleak Alburnus alburnus (L., 1758) (Actinopterygii, cyprinidae) in the Iberian Peninsula: the role of reservoirs. Graellsia, 63(1):101-110.
Wheeler A, 1978. Hybrids of bleak, Alburnus alburnus, and chub, Leuciscus cephalus in English rivers. Journal of Fish Biology, 13:467.
Witkowski A; Blachuta I, 1980. Natural hybrids Alburnus alburnus x Leuciscus cephalus and Rutilus rutilus x Abramis brama from the Rivers San and Biebrza Poland. Acta Hydrobiologica, 22:473-487.
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
16/01/12 Original text by:
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.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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