Cobitis (Cobitis levantina)

Cobitis levantina
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Cobitis fact file

Cobitis description

GenusCobitis (1)

A rare and threatened freshwater fish, Cobitis levantina is a peculiar-looking species with an elongated body and several barbels beneath the short head. Like other members of the family Cobitidae, Cobitis levantina has a strong spine under each eye, a slightly arched mouth and very finely furrowed lips (2) (3).

Length: 3.6 - 8.4 cm (2)

Cobitis biology

Cobitis levantina is a little-studied species, and there is very little information available on its biology and behaviour. 

Cyprinidae species usually have quite a diverse diet, and Cobitis levantina is likely to feed on a variety of insects, crustaceans, molluscs and some plant material. Members of the Cyprinidae family lack teeth in the jaws, but most have a pair of enlarged bones in the throat which possess structures known as ‘pharyngeal teeth’, used to process food (4).


Cobitis range

Cobitis levantina is only found in the Litani River Basin in Lebanon and the Orontes River Basin in Syria and Turkey (1).


Cobitis habitat

Cobitis levantina is found in lowland rivers and small irrigation canals with silty bottoms and only a little submerged vegetation (1).


Cobitis status

Cobitis levantina is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Cobitis threats

Across its range, Cobitis levantina is rare and in decline, and it is known from only ten locations. The main threats to this species are pollution and water extraction, which are decreasing the quality of its habitat. Drought can also cause the water level in its habitat to change rapidly, and this threat may increase in frequency and severity as a result of global climate change (1).


Cobitis conservation

Cobitis levantina has not been the target of any known conservation measures.


Find out more

Find out more about Cobitis levantina:



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Fleshy projections near the mouth of some aquatic vertebrates.
Diverse group of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton, characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (mouthparts used for handling and processing food) and two pairs of maxillae (appendages used in eating, which are located behind the mandibles). Includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, woodlice and barnacles.
A diverse group of invertebrates, mainly marine, that have one or all of the following; a horny, toothed ribbon in the mouth (the radula), a shell covering the upper surface of the body, and a mantle or mantle cavity with a type of gill. Includes snails, slugs, shellfish, octopuses and squid.


  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2011)
  2. Erkakan, F., Atalay-Ekmekçi, F.C. and Nalbant, T.T. (1999) A review of the genus Cobitis in Turkey (Pisces: Ostariophysi: Cobitidae). Hydrobiologia, 403: 13-26.
  3. FishBase - Cobitidae (May, 2011)
  4. Campbell, A. and Dawes, J. (2004) Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Image credit

Cobitis levantina  
Cobitis levantina

© Prof. Dr. Füsun Erk'akan

Prof. Dr. Füsun Erk'akan
Tel: +90 3122978034
Fax: +90 3122992028


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