Such a fish as roach is familiar to many. She takes a fancy and is often found in a variety of water bodies. Fishermen claim that roach can be caught all year round, and skilled housewives prepare a huge number of various dishes from it. Almost everyone knows what this silvery fish looks like outwardly, but not everyone knows about its habits, character, and nuances of the spawning period. Let's look at the features of the life of this fish, characterizing it from different angles.
Origin of the species and description
Common roach is a representative of the class of ray-finned fish , belonging to the carp family and the order of cyprinids. The fish is characterized by a large number of subspecies, which have their own names.
The roach is called:
In the expanses of Siberia and the Urals, roach is called a chebak, which has an elongated narrow body and yellow eyes. The length of the body of a chebak can reach up to 32 cm, and its weight – up to 760 grams. In the Kirov, Arkhangelsk, Vologda regions and on the territory of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, the roach is called a soroga, the fish has red eyes and a body wider in shape than that of the chebak.
On Baikal and in the Yenisei basin, you can hear such a name for roach as a path. Vobla can be found in the expanses of the Caspian Sea, during spawning it enters the Volga, the length of the fish does not exceed 30 cm. A ram lives in the waters of the Azov and Black Seas, entering the channels of flowing rivers during the spawning period. The greatest length of her body is 35 cm, and her weight is about two kilograms.
Freshwater roach is called residential, and fish inhabiting brackish waters is called semi-anadromous. Among residential species, the most valuable is the Siberian roach (chebak), which is harvested on an industrial scale. Such semi-anadromous subspecies as ram and roach are also of commercial importance.
An interesting fact: There are still discussions among scientists about the allocation of varieties and subspecies of roach. Some believe that the division of this fish into subspecies is wrong, others, on the contrary, consider some of the subspecies to be separate, isolated species.
Appearance and Features
The body shape of a roach is elongated, the body is slightly flattened laterally. Basically, fish scales have a silvery color, but sometimes there are specimens of a copper-yellow hue, it depends on the places of permanent fish deployment. The ridge of the roach has a dark gray tint, sometimes it shimmers with blue or greenish tones. Roach is distinguished from close relatives by the presence of non-sharp pharyngeal teeth, which are located on both sides of the mouth.
The scales of the roach are large and densely set, from 40 to 45 scales can be counted along the lateral line. The dorsal fin has 9 to 11 rays, and the prianal fin has 9-12. The middle lateral line of the fish is not observed. The dorsal and ventral fins are symmetrical. The color of the caudal and dorsal fins is greenish-gray or brownish, and the ventral, pectoral and anal fins are orange or red. The round eyes of a roach have an orange or red iris.
The fish head has a pointed shape. The mouth opening of the roach is small, and the upper jaw protrudes slightly forward, creating a saddened fish look. Roach loyally tolerates polluted water, where the oxygen content is at a fairly low level. The growth of roach is slow, in the first year of life its length is 5 cm, closer to the age of three, the length of the fish varies from 12 to 15 cm, and it grows up to 30 cm when it reaches the age of ten. On average, the length of a mature individual ranges from 10 to 25 cm, and its mass can be from 150 to 500 grams.
Interesting fact: The world record was set in Germany, where they caught roach weighing 2.58 kg.
Where does the roach live?
The area of roach settlement is very extensive, it stretches from Great Britain and Central Europe to the north of Sweden and Finland. On the territory of Asia Minor and in the Crimea, roach is found, but its populations are very small. In the Mediterranean basin, fish are not found at all. Subspecies related to semi-anadromous are deployed in the waters of the Black and Azov Seas. Roach bypassed the Far East and the Amur basin.
Fish inhabit various water bodies, living:
- in the Volga;
- in Lake Baikal;
- in the waters of Lake Zaisan;
- in the waters of the Aral Sea.
People brought roach to Ireland, to the Australian continent, to Morocco, Spain and Italy, where the fish took root perfectly. The unpretentious roach has adapted both to the waters of freshwater lakes and to slow-flowing rivers. Roach can be found in small channels, ponds, turbulent mountain streams, stagnant backwaters, and in coastal brackish lagoons. Reservoirs, weakly concentrated with oxygen and overgrown with weeds, do not frighten this small fish at all.
Closer to the shores, roach fry and young ones live, and mature and more weighty individuals are at the bottom. In summer, roach is more often deployed on the surface of the water surface, because. bites on insects. With the approach of winter, fish gather in flocks and go to the depths, closer to dense thickets and underwater snags.
Now you know where the roach fish is found. Let's see what she eats.
What does a roach eat?
In food, roach is unpretentious, and its diet is very diverse.
Mature fish loves to snack :
- dragonfly larvae;
- maggots ;
Juveniles and fry feed on the remains of dead invertebrates, larvae and pupae of pusher mosquitoes. In order to actively grow, roaches need to live in alkaline water with a high content of calcium. The pond should not be too polluted, a lot of weeds and a little competition are welcome. Fry in the first summer period of their lives prefer unicellular algae and daphnia. In autumn, they begin to look for tiny swimming animals.
When the fish begin to eat more diversely, their growth actively progresses, increasing from eight to ten times. Grown up and matured roach begins to switch to bottom vegetation and animals. Until it grows to a length of fifteen centimeters, the roach feeds on larvae, all kinds of insects and algae. Larger individuals eat large invertebrates (such as sea snails).
Interesting fact: The time it takes roaches to digest what they eat depends on the ambient temperature. At 21 degrees with a plus sign, it takes about four hours, when it gets cold from plus five to minus eight, it takes up to 72 hours to digest.
Features of character and lifestyle
Roach lives in flocks, which are formed based on fish age. Usually in a flock of small fish you can see one larger specimen. Juveniles stick to shallow water and the coastal zone, while mature individuals live in depth. The fish likes reed and reed thickets. The whole flock of fish also goes for wintering, and when the ice begins to melt, the fish swims to places where it is smaller, and during this period it bites quite actively.
The roach has a very cautious and shy disposition, so it is always on the alert and, with any extraneous noise, can quickly retreat. Fish are active both during the day and at dusk. She does not have any special problems with food, tk. Roach gladly eats both vegetation and a variety of animal food. At the very height of summer, when food is plentiful, the fish bite loses its activity, so anglers use various baits and baits to lure it. And in the autumn, when aquatic vegetation dies, roach is no longer so fastidious and is caught much better.
Roach can be called an unpretentious and omnivorous fish that has adapted to life in various water bodies, it is not afraid of either pollution or a low level of oxygen in the water. Already in the middle of the autumn season, the fish are preparing for wintering, huddling in flocks. In winter, fish cluster at sufficient depths, where there are many thickets and snags. With the advent of spring, deep water is abandoned, and schools of fish head upstream, where they begin to eat, catching various insects.
An interesting fact: The best periods of roach biting are considered to be the time before spawning (a week before it) and after spawning – towards the end of May or the beginning of June. In spring, when the water has not yet warmed up, roach bite better in the afternoon, and in hot summer, active biting is observed at dawn.
Social structure and reproduction
Sexual maturity in males and females of roach occurs at different times, in males it comes at the age of two to four years, in females – from four to five. The spawning period falls at the end of April and lasts throughout May. For breeding, roach chooses places where there are underwater thickets, creeks, shallow waters, flooded meadows, near-bottom areas of rivers with a rapid current are suitable for this process. During the mating season, roaches can be observed jumping out of the water, making splashes. Males try to follow females everywhere.
When the water warms up to 10 degrees with a plus sign, the attire of males becomes rough, which is created by light tubercles appearing on the body. In flocks, females for about two weeks touch such rough sides of males, which induces them to spawn eggs that have a pale yellowish color. In one female, there can be from 10 to 200 thousand of them, the diameter of the eggs varies from one to one and a half millimeters. In water bodies where there is no current, the eggs stick to weeds, reeds, and the roots of coastal trees. In the waters over the course they are held by willow moss and stones.
The incubation period is from 4 to 12 days, when born, fry have a length of 4 to 6 mm. Babies up to a month old are in the bottom thickets, feeding and hiding from predatory ill-wishers. Fry are better suited to waters where the current is completely sluggish or absent (pond, swamp). Young fish prefer shallow water areas, and their growth rate is quite slow. The average life expectancy of roach is about 20 years, during this considerable period it usually reaches forty centimeters in length.
Interesting fact: In rivers near power plants, the spawning period of roach can take place in January time, this warm sewage is explained.
Roach's natural enemies
In the natural environment, a shy and small-sized roach has enough enemies. In the spring and at the very beginning of summer, a huge number of eggs of this fish die, because. actively eaten by eels. Predatory perch and pike can also be considered enemies of roach, they constantly accompany its shoals, often attacking during the spawning period. Predatory fish lie in wait for a young roach in the underwater growth, where she swims in search of plankton. Pike perches are not at all averse to eating roach, they attack the fish, making blows to the head, and then they also bite it with sharp fangs. Voracious chubs feed on roach fry and inexperienced young.
Some birds, for example, cormorants, which eat half a kilogram of fish in one day, can also be attributed to fish enemies. Kingfishers also feast on fry and small fish, which does not exceed ten centimeters in size. Herons, on the contrary, love larger roaches, eating mature fish, about 35 cm long. Waterfowl grebes graze in shallow water, where they deftly dive, catching fish, the length of which usually does not exceed 16 cm. Seagulls also will not refuse a fish snack .
In addition to predatory fish and birds, roach is eaten by otters, muskrats, minks, which hunt it along the coast. Small-sized fish are swallowed instantly right in the water, and eating a larger one is carried out already on land. In addition to various representatives of the fauna, all kinds of diseases affect roach, from which the fish also die. Black spot disease is observed in fish due to the fact that they eat snails that are infected with parasitic worm larvae. Black spots appear on the body of a sick fish; this parasite is not dangerous for humans.
Feeding on water fleas, roach becomes infected with ligulosis. This disease is characterized by the development and growth of a tapeworm in the abdominal cavity of the fish, which gradually begins to compress the internal fish organs, causing the roach to become sterile and soon die.
The enemies of roach can also be attributed to people who are famously controlled with a rod. Fishing enthusiasts catch a lot of roach, from which they prepare a variety of dishes. Fish meat is quite tasty and has a low calorie content, so it is also suitable for those who keep their figure while dieting.
Interesting fact: In the UK, roach is caught for fun, almost all fish caught are released back into the water. Although the roach is considered edible, it is not valued by the British, they prefer other types of fish.
Population and species status
Roach distribution area is very extensive , this small fish adapts to various water bodies. She is unpretentious to the environment and omnivorous. The population of this fish does not cause any concern among environmental organizations, on the contrary, in some reservoirs it has grown too much.
Back in the 70s of the last century, the demand for roach in Northern Europe fell sharply. The fish eats zooplankton and grows very slowly, which leads to the fact that the reservoirs where they live begin to overgrow and bloom strongly, because they are not caught for industrial purposes. Catching roach leads to the restoration of the amount of zooplankton, a decrease in the content of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water, which contributes to the fact that valuable fish species begin to grow and develop in its place.
Large fish can still be sold, but in the vastness of central Europe it is very cheap, and the bulk of the fish is used to produce livestock feed and even biodiesel. In Finland, a project has been launched that provides for the capture of up to 350 tons of roach annually. It should be noted that ram and vobla have the greatest commercial value; this fish is sold both fresh and dried.
So, roach remains a numerous fish, it does not represent a special industrial value, in some countries it is practically not used for food. Although a huge number of fry and eggs are eaten by predatory fish, birds, and other animals, the population of roach does not experience the threat of extinction, therefore it is not under special protection and does not need special protective measures.
Interesting fact: Roach can interbreed with rudd, chub and bream, which happens quite often. Such hybrids have a very faded color and most of them are not able to reproduce, but even this factor does not have a significant negative impact on the size of the fish population.
In conclusion, I would like to note that for each roach represents its own value: for some, it is an excellent trophy in sport fishing, others love its gastronomic features, preparing a lot of not only tasty, but also very healthy, dietary dishes, others catch roach for the purpose of its further sale. And remembering the taste of dried roach, many salivate.