Malamída (Vimba melanops)

Malamída, side profile
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Malamída fact file

Malamída description

GenusVimba (1)

The fish (Vimba melanops) is a member of the Cyprinidae, a diverse family of fish comprising over 2,000 species (3). It is one of 205 cyprinids endemic to Europe (4). A medium sized cyprinid (5), the malamída has the protrusible upper jaw, slightly arched lower jaw and thin lips characteristic of this family (2) (3).

Sexual dimorphism is rare in cyprinids (3). However, during the spawning season, the male fish has a broad black stripe running along the side of the body, as well as a black underside and white cheeks (2).

Male length: up to 32 cm (2)

Malamída biology

Little is known about the biology of the malamída. However, the diet of all cyprinids is highly varied and can include insects, crustaceans, molluscs and occasionally plant material (2) (3). It can also be assumed that this species, like other cyprinids, is toothless, instead possessing a pair of enlarged bones known as ‘pharyngeal teeth’ within the throat which assist with processing food (3).

The exact breeding season of the fish is not documented. However, it is known that after migrating to a suitable spawning ground (5), the female malamída subsequently lays eggs among the stones on the riverbed (2).


Malamída range

The malamída is endemic to Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Evros river which borders Greece and Turkey. It has also been reported from Bulgaria (1) (2) (6).


Malamída habitat

The fish predominantly inhabits freshwater rivers and streams with swift currents (2). This species also occurs in reservoirs (1), lakes and lowland water courses with less powerful currents (2). The fish is a demersal species, living on or close to the river bed (2).


Malamída status

The malamída is classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Data Deficient


Malamída threats

As a migratory species, the construction of dams and reservoirs is a major threat to the long term survival of the fish as it can block the route from feeding grounds to suitable spawning grounds (5). Habitat destruction has also occurred within the range of the malamída, while water extraction and pollution have also contributed to the degradation of its habitats (1) (2) (5).


Malamída conservation

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


Find out more

Find out more about the malamída:



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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.
Fish that live on or near the ocean bottom. They are often called benthic fish, groundfish, or bottom fish.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
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.
Sexual dimorphism
When males and females of the same species differ in appearance.
The production or depositing of eggs in water.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
  2. FishBase - Vimba melanops:
  3. Campbell, A. and Dawes, J. (2004) Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Freyhof, J. and Brooks, E. (2011) European Red List of Freshwater Fishes. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
  5. Economidis, P.S. (1995) Endangered freshwater fishes of Greece. Biological Conservation, 72: 201-211.
  6. Fet, V. and Popov, A. (2007) Biogeography and Ecology of Bulgaria. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Image credit

Malamída, side profile  
Malamída, side profile

© Velislav Yordanov Zarev

Velislav Yordanov Zarev
NSO "Acad. Ivan Buresh"


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