Malamída (Vimba melanops)

GenusVimba (1)
SizeMale length: up to 32 cm (2)

The malamída is classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).

The malamída (Vimba melanops) is a member of the Cyprinidae, a diverse family of fish comprising over 2,000 species (3). It is one of 205 cyprinids endemic to Europe (4). A medium sized cyprinid (5), the malamída has the protrusible upper jaw, slightly arched lower jaw and thin lips characteristic of this family (2) (3).

Sexual dimorphism is rare in cyprinids (3). However, during the spawning season, the male malamída has a broad black stripe running along the side of the body, as well as a black underside and white cheeks (2).

The malamída is endemic to Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Evros river which borders Greece and Turkey. It has also been reported from Bulgaria (1) (2) (6).

The malamída predominantly inhabits freshwater rivers and streams with swift currents (2). This species also occurs in reservoirs (1), lakes and lowland water courses with less powerful currents (2). The malamída is a demersal species, living on or close to the river bed (2).

Little is known about the biology of the malamída. However, the diet of all cyprinids is highly varied and can include insects, crustaceans, molluscs and occasionally plant material (2) (3). It can also be assumed that this species, like other cyprinids, is toothless, instead possessing a pair of enlarged bones known as ‘pharyngeal teeth’ within the throat which assist with processing food (3).

The exact breeding season of the malamída is not documented. However, it is known that after migrating to a suitable spawning ground (5), the female malamída subsequently lays eggs among the stones on the riverbed (2).

As a migratory species, the construction of dams and reservoirs is a major threat to the long term survival of the malamída as it can block the route from feeding grounds to suitable spawning grounds (5). Habitat destruction has also occurred within the range of the malamída, while water extraction and pollution have also contributed to the degradation of its habitats (1) (2) (5).

There are not known to be any specific conservation measures currently in place for the malamída.

Find out more about the malamída:

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:

  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
  2. FishBase - Vimba melanops:
  3. Campbell, A. and Dawes, J. (2004) Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Freyhof, J. and Brooks, E. (2011) European Red List of Freshwater Fishes. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
  5. Economidis, P.S. (1995) Endangered freshwater fishes of Greece. Biological Conservation, 72: 201-211.
  6. Fet, V. and Popov, A. (2007) Biogeography and Ecology of Bulgaria. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.