Rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus)

Rudd showing lateral line
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Rudd fact file

Rudd description

GenusScardinius (1)

The fish is often confused with the roach (Rutilus rutilus), as the two species are similar in appearance (2). In the rudd, the dorsal fin is situated further back than in the roach. Another key difference between the two is that the rudd has a keel on the belly, whereas in the roach the belly is rounded (2). The rudd has a bluish green back with silvery-white sides and belly. The dorsal fin and pectoral fins are greyish with a reddish tint and all the other fins are bright red (2); it is this feature that the seventeenth century name ‘rudd’ refers to (4).

Length: 25 – 30 cm (2)
250 g (2)

Rudd biology

Rudd live in small shoals, and typically occur near the surface of the water (2). It is an omnivorous fish, feeding on invertebrates and a range of plants (3). In some areas where the species has been introduced, the plant-eating habits of the fish have serious implications for native ecosystems (5).

Spawning takes place in May and June (2). The colourless or pale yellow eggs are scattered in open water and are fertilised externally. They become attached to weeds in shallow water (3).


Rudd range

The rudd is native to Eurasia, being widely distributed in Europe and middle Asia. It is found in the basins of the North, Baltic, Caspian, Aral and Black seas (3). In Britain it is absent from Scotland (2). It has been introduced to many countries around the world, including the USA, Canada, and New Zealand (3).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Rudd habitat

The rudd is found in sluggish water bodies where there is little current, including lakes, canals, ponds, rivers and marshlands (3).


Rudd status

The rudd is not currently considered to be threatened (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Rudd threats

There are not currently known to be any threats to the fish.


Rudd conservation

There are not known to be any specific conservation measures currently in place for the fish (4).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.


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:



Dorsal fin
The unpaired fin found on the back of the body of fish, or the raised structure on the back of most cetaceans.
Feeding on both plants and animals.
Pectoral fins
In fish, the pair of fins that are found one on each side of the body just behind the gills. They are generally used for balancing and braking.


  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (January 2004):
  2. Cihar, J. (1991) Freshwater fish. Silverdale Books, Leicester.
  3. Fishbase (January 2004):
  4. Buczaki, S. (2002) Fauna Britannica. Hamlyn, London.
  5. Garcia-Bertho, E. & Moreno-Amich, R. (2000) Rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus) introduced to the Iberian peninsula: feeding ecology in Lake Banyoles. Hydrobiologia436: 159-164.

Image credit

Rudd showing lateral line  
Rudd showing lateral line

© Jeff Goodman /

NHPA/Photoshot Holdings Ltd
29-31 Saffron Hill
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7421 6003
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7421 6006


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