Skadar gudgeon (Gobio skadarensis)

Skadar gudgeon
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Skadar gudgeon fact file

Skadar gudgeon description

GenusGobio (1)

Named for its occurrence around Lake Skadar in Montenegro (1) (2), the Skadar gudgeon (Gobio skadarensis) is a member of the Cyprinidae family, a diverse group of fish comprising over 2,000 species (3). Very little information is available on the Skadar gudgeon, but Cyprinidae species are generally quite small, and males and females are usually similar in appearance. Most Cyprinidae species lack scales on the head (3).

Like the related gudgeon (Gobio gobio), the Skadar gudgeon is likely to be a rounded fish with a large, triangular dorsal fin on the back and two well-developed barbels near the mouth (4). The Skadar gudgeon has six to seven blotches along its side, often arranged in pairs (2).

Gobio gobio skadarensis.
Length: up to 9 cm (2)

Skadar gudgeon biology

Very little is currently known about the biology of the Skadar gudgeon (1). However, it may be similar to that of the gudgeon (G. gobio), which matures at two to three years old and spawns between May and June. The eggs of G. gobio hatch in about 15 days (4).

The diet of Cyprinidae species is usually quite diverse (3). Like G. gobio, the Skadar gudgeon is likely to feed on a variety of insects, crustaceans, molluscs and occasional plant material (4). Instead of jaw teeth, most members of the Cyprinidae family possess a pair of enlarged bones in the throat, with structures known as ‘pharyngeal teeth’ which are used to process food (3).

The Skadar gudgeon is likely to be mainly solitary, although it may sometimes come together in small shoals (4).


Skadar gudgeon range

The Skadar gudgeon is known only from the Lake Skadar drainage system, near the border between Montenegro and Albania. It has only been recorded from two locations in Montenegro, in the Zeta stream and the lower Morača River (1) (2), the largest tributary of Lake Skadar (5).


Skadar gudgeon habitat

Little information is available on the habitat preferences of the Skadar gudgeon. However, it inhabits freshwater (1) (2) and, like G. gobio, is likely to be a bottom-dweller (2) (4).


Skadar gudgeon status

The Skadar gudgeon is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Skadar gudgeon threats

The Skadar gudgeon occupies only a relatively small area, where it is under threat from water abstraction and drought, which may potentially be exacerbated by climate change (1). Fortunately, the Zeta stream is fed by a limestone water basin which means that it is unlikely to completely dry out (1).

A further potential threat to the Skadar gudgeon comes from proposed dams on the Morača River, which could affect fish species in Skadar Lake and in the river itself (5).


Skadar gudgeon conservation

Skadar Lake is a designated Ramsar site, or Wetland of International Importance (6). However, there are no specific conservation measures currently known to be in place for the Skadar gudgeon (1). As it is so poorly known, this small fish may benefit from further research into its biology, ecology and conservation status.


Find out more

Find out more about the Skadar gudgeon:

More information on wetland conservation:



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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.
Dorsal fin
The unpaired fin found on the back of the body of fish, or the raised structure on the back of most cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises).
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.
The production or depositing of large quantities of eggs in water.


  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2011)
  2. FishBase - Skadar gudgeon (May, 2011)
  3. Campbell, A. and Dawes, J. (2004) Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Girdler, A., Wellby, I. and Welcomme, R. (2010) Fisheries Management: A Manual for Still-Water Coarse Fisheries. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Chichester, UK.
  5. Mrdak, D. (2009) Environmental Risk Assessment of the Morača Dams: Fish Fauna of the Morača River Canyon and Skadar Lake. WWF MedPO, Rome and Green Home, Podgorica. Available at:
  6. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (May, 2011)

Image credit

Skadar gudgeon  
Skadar gudgeon

© Jörg Freyhof

Jörg Freyhof


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