Phoxinellus (Phoxinellus alepidotus)

Phoxinellus alepidotus
Loading more images and videos...

Phoxinellus fact file

Phoxinellus description

GenusPhoxinellus (1)

A small freshwater fish, Phoxinellus alepidotus is plain and uniformly-coloured (3) (4). The body lacks scales, except along the lateral line, where they extend to between the pelvic and anal fins. The dorsal and anal fins are short and relatively unbranched, and the caudal fin is moderately forked (2) (3) (5).

Phoxinellus alepidotus has a distinctive arrangement of pharyngeal teeth (specialised teeth in the throat of the fish), which can be used to distinguish it from similar species (4) (5)

Paraphoxinus alepidotus.
Length: up to 14.5 cm (2)

Phoxinellus biology

Very little specific information is available on the biology of Phoxinellus alepidotus. It is likely that this species spawns in the shallower parts of streams, where the female probably lays two or three batches of eggs during the breeding season (2).


Phoxinellus range

Phoxinellus alepidotus is known only from the Cetina river basin and from waters in karst region of Livanjsko, Glamocko and Grahovo in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (1).


Phoxinellus habitat

Phoxinellus alepidotus primarily inhabits clear karstic streams (1) (2) (6), as well as lowland water bodies with little current. During winter or drought, Phoxinellus alepidotus will enter underground streams (2).


Phoxinellus status

Phoxinellus alepidotus is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Phoxinellus threats

Water extraction, water pollution and drought are currently considered to be the greatest threats to Phoxinellus alepidotus and other freshwater fish in the region. Dam construction and introduced invasive species are also likely to impact on this species’ population (1) (2) (7).

Alteration to this species’ habitat and water shortage due to increasing economic development and climate change will further contribute to the ongoing decline of Phoxinellus alepidotus (4).


Phoxinellus conservation

There are currently no known specific conservation measures in place for Phoxinellus alepidotus.

The Convention on Biological Diversity has produced a ‘Strategy and Action Plan for the Protection of Biological and Landscape Diversity of Croatia’, which includes recommended measures to protect the karst region as an area of global value. The measures include identifying the species present in the area, along with proposals for their protection (6)

Further recommendations include reducing pollution in the region and carrying out new research to fill existing gaps in the knowledge of underground fauna, as well as raising public awareness of the karst as having importance on a global scale (6).

Such work to protect and raise awareness of the karst region should thereby benefit the species which inhabit it, including Phoxinellus alepidotus.


Find out more

Find out more about Phoxinellus alepidotus:

Find out more about the Action Plan to protect Croatia’s biodiversity:



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:



Anal fin
In fish, an unpaired fin on the under surface of a fish, behind the anus.
Caudal fin
The tail fin of a fish.
Dorsal fin
The unpaired fin found on the back of the body of fish, or the raised structure on the back of most cetaceans.
An area of irregular limestone in which erosion has produced fissures, sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns.
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.
Pelvic fins
In fish, the pair of fins found on the underside of the body.
The production or depositing of large quantities of eggs in water.


  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2011)
  2. FishBase - Phoxinellus alepidotus (May, 2011)
  3. Günther, A. (1868) Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum: Physostomi. Volume 7. Dept. of Zoology, British Museum (Natural History), London.
  4. Freyhof, J., Lieckfeldt, D., Bogutskaya, N.D., Pitra, C. and Ludwig, A. (2006) Phylogenetic position of the Dalmatian genus Phoxinellus and description of the newly proposed genus Delminichthys (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 38: 416-425.
  5. Bogutskaya, N.G. and Zupancic, P. (2003) Phoxinellus pseudalepidotus (Teleostei: Cyprinidae), a new species from the Neretva basin with an overview of the morphology of Phoxinellus species of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 14(4): 369-383.
  6. Croatia National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (May, 2011)
  7. Smith, K.G. and Darwall, W.R.T. (2005) The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Fish Endemic to the Mediterranean Basin. IUCN Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment Programme. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Image credit

Phoxinellus alepidotus  
Phoxinellus alepidotus

© Dusan Jelic

Dusan Jelic
Državni zavod za zaštitu prirode
Trg Mažuranica 5
10 000 Zagreb
Tel: +385 (1) 55 02 951


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Phoxinellus (Phoxinellus alepidotus) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is affected by global climate change and has been profiled with the support of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. To learn more visit our climate change pages.

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top