Northern straight-mouth nase (Pseudochondrostoma duriense)

Northern straight-mouth nase specimen
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Northern straight-mouth nase fact file

Northern straight-mouth nase description

GenusPseudochondrostoma (1)

The northern straight-mouth nase (Pseudochondrostoma duriense) is a medium-sized (3) member of the Cyprinidae family, a diverse group of fish comprising over 2,000 species (4). Fish in this family have the ability to protrude the upper jaw, while this species’ lower jaw is slightly arched (2). As its common name suggests, the mouth of the northern straight mouth nase is characteristically straight (3).

Populations of northern straight-mouth nase in Portugal and Galacia, Spain usually have small scales, and are covered with numerous black spots on the upperparts (2) (3). The body of the northern straight-mouth nase is more elongated than other cyprinids, with large dorsal and anal fins (3).

Most cyprinids do not display any visible differences between the male and female (4), although males of this species develop numerous small tubercules over the whole body during breeding season (3).

Chondrostoma duriense.
Length: up to 40 cm (2)

Northern straight-mouth nase biology

An omnivorous species, the northern straight-mouth nase feeds on detritus and plant material on the stone-filled river bed (5) (7). This is supplemented with aquatic invertebrates which drift in the water column throughout the daytime feeding hours (2) (5). Cyprinid species are toothless, instead having a pair of bones inside the throat which grind against each other to aid the digestion process (4).

The spawning season of the northern straight-mouth nase takes place from April to June, after the upstream migration which occurs prior to spawning (2) (7). The eggs of Cyprinids are around one millimetre in diameter and development is fast, with newly hatched larvae immediately searching for small crustaceans and other small prey to eat (8).

The northern straight-mouth nase can be found in groups, especially around the time of the migration prior to spawning (2).


Northern straight-mouth nase range


Northern straight-mouth nase habitat

The northern straight-mouth nase inhabits freshwater rivers with strong currents (1), where it is generally found swimming close to the riverbed (2). It also occurs in reservoirs (3).


Northern straight-mouth nase status

The northern straight-mouth nase is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Northern straight-mouth nase threats

Throughout the range of the northern straight-mouth nase, canals and dams have been constructed, with plans to construct more, leading to the destruction of this species’ habitat (1). Water extraction and the addition of agricultural and industrial waste into the water are also threatening the nase and its habitat (3). The introduction of non-native species is another potential threat to the northern straight-mouth nase (1), with introduced species such as Lepomis gibbosus, Micropterus salnmoides, Esox lucius, Sander lucioperca,as well as other cyprinids competing with the northern straight-mouth nase for food and resources (3).


Northern straight-mouth nase conservation

The northern straight-mouth nase is listed on Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive, which protects over 1,000 animals and 200 habitat types within Europe (9). It is also listed on Annex III of the Bern Convention, which aims to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats in Europe (1) (10). Controlling and treating the waste which is added to the water bodies could be an effective method of conserving the habitat of this species, while reduction of irrigation when water levels are low and controlling the introduction of non-native species would also benefit the northern straight-mouth nase (3).


Find out more

Find out more about the northern straight-mouth nase:



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Anal fin
In fish, an unpaired fin on the under surface of the fish, behind the anus.
Diverse group of animals with jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton, 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.
Litter formed from fragments of dead material.
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 species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
Immature stage in an animal’s lifecycle, after it hatches from an egg and before it changes into the adult form. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but are usually unable to reproduce.
Feeding on both plants and animals.
The production or depositing of eggs in water.
A small, rounded, wart-like bump on the skin or on a bone.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
  2. FishBase - Pseudochondrostoma duriense (November, 2011)
  3. Doadrino, I. (2010) Atlas y Libro de los Peces Continentales de Espaňa. Dirección General de Conservación de la Naturaleza, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid. Available at:
  4. Campbell, A. and Dawes, J. (2004) Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Sánchez-Hernández, J., Vieira-Lanero, R., Servia, M.J. and Cobo, F. (2011) Feeding habits of four sympatric fish species in the Iberian Peninsula: keys to understanding coexistence using prey traits.Hydrobiologica, 667: 119-132.
  6. Aboim, M.A., Cunha, C. and Coelho, M.M. (2009) Redistribution of the geographical ranges of the Iberian cyprinid genus Pseudochondrostoma based on a phylogenetic analysis: implications for the historical rearrangements of the north-western Iberian drainages. Journal of Fish Biology, 74: 1337-1346.
  7. Aboim, M.A., Mavarez, J., Bernatchez, L. and Coelho, M.M. (2010) Introgressive hybridization between two Iberian endemic cyprinid fish: a comparison between two independent hybrid zones. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 23: 817-828.
  8. Billard, R. (1995) Carp Biology and Culture. INRA, Paris.
  9. EU Habitats Directive (November, 2011)
  10. Council of Europe: Bern Convention (November, 2011)

Image credit

Northern straight-mouth nase specimen  
Northern straight-mouth nase specimen

© Filipe Ribeiro

Filipe Ribeiro


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