Chondrostoma (Chondrostoma vardarense)

Chondrostoma vardarense
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Chondrostoma fact file

Chondrostoma description

GenusChondrostoma (1)

Chondrostoma vardarense is a member of the Cyprinidae family, a diverse group of fish comprising over 2,000 species (3). Although there is very little available information on the appearance of this species, members of the genus Chondrostoma are usually cylindrical in shape, tapering towards the end, with a deeply forked tail (4). They are generally pigmented or spotted above the lateral line, and a whitish colour below (4). Chondrostoma vardarense has a relatively straight mouth and the lower lip has a characteristic hard layer (4) (2).

Standard length: up to 35 cm (2)

Chondrostoma biology

There is very little information available on the feeding behaviour of Chondrostoma vardarense. However, members of the Cyprinidae family lack teeth in the jaws, instead processing food using modified bones in the throat, known as ‘pharyngeal teeth’ (3).

In general, Cyprinids are polygamous, often gathering in large groups in order to spawn (5). Chondrostoma vardarense moves to tributaries in order to reproduce, with spawning taking place among the stones in rapids and riffles (2).


Chondrostoma range

A fairly widely distributed species, Chondrostoma vardarense ranges from eastern Greece, north to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and eastwards through Bulgaria and into Turkey (1).


Chondrostoma habitat

Chondrostoma vardarense is a freshwater species and typically occurs in lowland water courses. Its preferred habitat is fast-flowing rivers or streams, with a stone or rock substrate (2)


Chondrostoma status

Chondrostoma vardarense is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened


Chondrostoma threats

The Chondrostoma vardarense population is currently in decline, with future declines predicted due to the building of dams and sedimentation of this species’ freshwater habitat (1). Other threats to this species include the drying up of its native streams and rivers due to drought, over extraction of water and climate change (1).

Overall, 37 percent of European freshwater fish species are currently listed as threatened with extinction, with the major threats including pollution, overfishing and invasive alien species (6).


Chondrostoma conservation

There are currently no known conservation actions targeting Chondrostoma vardarense.


Find out more

Read more about threatened species in Europe:

Find out more about species in the Mediterranean Basin:



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A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Invasive alien
Species introduced deliberately or unintentionally outside their natural habitats where they have the ability to establish themselves, invade, outcompete natives and take over the new environments.
Lateral line
A row of receptors that can detect movement via vibrations in water. The receptors are typically embedded in the skin, and in fish they form a line along the sides of the body.
Mating with more than one partner in the same season.
Light rapids where water flows across a shallow section of river.
The production or depositing of eggs in water.


  1. IUCN Red List (December, 2011)
  2. FishBase - Chondrostoma vardarense (December, 2011)
  3. Campbell, A. and Dawes, J. (2004) Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Elvira, B. (1997) Taxonomy of the genus Chondrostoma (Osteichthyes, Cyprinidae): An updated review. Folia Zoologica, 46: 1-14.
  5. Marcy, B.C. et al. (2005) Fishes of the Middle Savannah River Basin. University of Georgia Press, Georgia.
  6. European Red List (December, 2011)

Image credit

Chondrostoma vardarense  
Chondrostoma vardarense

© Velislav Yordanov Zarev

Velislav Yordanov Zarev
NSO "Acad. Ivan Buresh"


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