Saturday 18 May
Italian bleak (Alburnus albidus)
Italian bleak fact file
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Italian bleak description
|Genus||Alburnus albidus (1)|
This small freshwater fish, once a common inhabitant of rivers in southern Italy, has been the victim of a drastic population decline in recent years. The Italian bleak (Alburnus albidus) has a spindle-shaped body with a slight protrusion behind the head. It is a dark metallic colour on the upperparts and silvery-white on the underside, with yellow eyes and grey fins. The tail is forked with sharpened lobes. Different populations of this species may differ slightly in size and colouration (4).
The Italian bleak differs from the closely related common bleak (Alburnus alburnus) by its rounded mouth and less prominent jaw (4).
- Also known as
- White bleak.
- Length: up to 11 cm (2)
The Nature Conservancy:
Zoological Society of London:
- Simple plants that lack roots, stems and leaves but contain the green pigment chlorophyll. Most occur in marine and freshwater habitats.
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- Cross-breeding between two different species or subspecies.
- Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs and spiders.
- Feeding on both plants and animals.
IUCN Red List (October, 2010)
- Kottelat, M. and Freyhof, J. (2007) Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes. Publications Kottelat, Cornol, Switzerland.
CITES (October, 2010)
Ittiofauna (October, 2010)
FishBase (October, 2010)
- Bianco, P.G. (2006) Hybridization between Alburnus albidus (C.) and Leuciscus cephalus cabeda R. in Italy. Journal of Fish Biology, 21(5): 593-603.
Council of Europe: Bern Convention (October, 2010)
WWF: Climate Change Impacts in Mediterranean Basin (May, 2011)
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Italian bleak biology
An omnivorous fish, the Italian bleak’s diet is strongly influenced by the changing of the seasons. During spring the Italian bleak feeds on drifting insects or invertebrates that have fallen onto water’s surface (5), in summer it tends to eat freshwater green algae, while in winter its diet is largely composed of organic debris (4).
Reproduction takes place late in the spring, when the female lays eggs between small stones close to the riverbank (4).Top
Italian bleak range
The Italian bleak is endemic to southern Italy. Its natural range stretches from the Voltumo to Alento Rivers in the west, and from the Trigno to Basento Rivers in the east. Introduced populations are found in the Mingardo, Bussento, Lao, and Savuto Rivers (1) (5).Top
Italian bleak habitat
The Italian bleak inhabits well-oxygenated, clear, mountainous and hilly streams, as well as small rivers(5). It usually populates the middle and lower parts of a river, where it is often the dominant species together with the European chub (Squalius cephalus) and the common barbel (Barbus barbus) (4).Top
Italian bleak statusTop
Italian bleak threats
The population of the Italian bleak has been reduced by 50 percent in the past 10 years, mainly due to the introduction of Rutilus rubilio (South European roach), and by the decline in habitat quality caused by the creation of canals and draining of water courses (1). Hybridization with Leuciscus cephalus (European chub) is also a threat to this little fish (1) (6).Top
Italian bleak conservation
The Italian bleak is protected in Europe under Appendix III of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (also known as the Bern Convention) (7). Efforts are being made to protect the habitat of this fish by creating special conservation zones. Educating fishermen, who sometimes uses the Italian bleak as bait, is another important action being undertaken by Italian authorities (4).Top
Find out more
To learn about efforts to protect freshwater ecosystems see:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
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