European Chub

Leuciscus cephalusIt is found in freshwaters of Europe and West Asia. In the Pskov-PeipsiLake it is relatively rare.

Chubs are 80 cm long and weigh 4 kilos. They inhabit rivers, and rarely lakes. This is a large, strong and beautiful fish. Its back is dark green – next to black, flanks are silvery, and since the scales have a shiny dark lining they appear to be patina-covered. The pectoral fins are orange, the pelvic and anal fins are red, and the caudal is lined with black. The magenta-red anal and black caudal fins make the chub easy to tell from other fish in the water. Chubs have thick, broad and somewhat flattened head – hence the name – and an almost cylindrical body. The European chub avoids large sluggish rivers. Most often, it is found in smaller fast streams with appropriately cold water, rifts, reaches and deep pools. Chubs inhabit very few lakes, preferring sandy, gravelly or loamy bottoms, avoiding ooze and algal mats. They quite often enter rifts, sandy shallows or keep near vortices, as well as deep pools by the shore with the overhanging shrubs and trees, where they feed on the fallen insects. Their diet is quite diverse. The young eat a lot of algae, insect larvae and terrestrial insects falling into water. Adults, apart from the said, start feeding on higher plants, mollusks, earthworms, small fish, young and shedding crustaceans, and frogs. Sometimes they prey on small mammals like voles, mice or muskrats, as well as small birds and nestlings falling into water. Chubs grow relatively fast, maturing by 4-5 years, being over 20 cm of length. They spawn in spring in smaller tributaries at quick and shallow rifts, a bit later than the dace. Their fertility fluctuates between 9.7 and 52.4 thousand eggs, reaching up to 100 thousand and more with large species. Spawning in the same water can be intermittent and single-batch, depending on the individual fish. Chubs do not settle in colonies, and only the young keep to small schools. Chubs winter in deep pools. The fish is of no commercial value.

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