The dace is quite modest in size, but has extraordinary briskness and mobility, so only an experienced angler can catch it. The excitement for fishing is played out serious, because here you need to show all your skill and agility. Let's try to figure out what kind of underwater life the dace leads, what distinguishes it from other fish, what does it prefer for lunch, where it is constantly deployed and how it spawns?
Origin of the species and description
The dace belongs to the ray-finned fish and belongs to the cyprinid family, the carp-like order and the dace genus.
The common dace is considered the most common, but there are two more subspecies of this fish:
- Kyrgyz dace has chosen water areas of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan;
- Siberian dace inhabited Siberian rivers.
There are other subspecies of fish belonging to the genus dace, among them are:
- Zerafshan dace;
- Caspian dace;
- Danilevsky dace;
- Talas dace.
General characteristics are inherent in all subspecies, but there are also specific differences. The dace of Danilevsky has a ridge of dark gray or black color, on the sides the tone of the scales is silver-gray. The fins located below have a yellow-orange or yellow-red color. The iris is yellow-orange.
Siberian dace has a dark green back and silvery sides. The color of the fins may be slightly reddish or completely whitish. The body shape of this fish is higher than that of an ordinary dace, the appearance of which we will describe in detail below. The Siberian is also distinguished by the terminal mouth.
It should be noted that the appearance of dace and their dimensions are largely determined by the places of their permanent deployment and the presence of a forage base in the reservoir. These fish do not differ in large sizes and large forms. On average, the length of the body of a dace is about 15 cm.
An interesting fact: There is recorded evidence that the length of the largest dace caught was 40 cm, and its mass was equal to one kilogram.
Appearance and Features
Yelets is a freshwater fish that prefers rivers with clear, oxygen-rich water and rocky bottoms. As already mentioned, the most common sizes of fish range from 15 to 20 cm, and their weight rarely exceeds two hundred grams. The body of the dace is elongated and compressed from the sides, the overall predominant tone of the scales is silver. A darker bluish tint is noticeable on the back, and in the area of u200bu200bthe sides and abdomen, the color of the fish is light.
The dorsal fin is truncated, and the caudal fin is elongated, they are painted in dark colors, and the fins located in front, as well as the anal the rear fin is gray with a reddish-yellow tinge. In the coloring of the dace, no spots, stripes and other patterns are observed, a monochromatic silvery color scheme prevails, only the backbone is colored darker.
Interesting fact: The color scheme of the fins changes depending on the age of the fish, it acquires a more yellow tone. During the spawning period, the anal fin of the male becomes intensely red.
The head of the dace, in relation to the size of its body, is proportional and slightly narrowed. The fish is distinguished by a small semi-lower mouth, in which a two-row arrangement of pharyngeal teeth is observed. The number of gill rakers in the dace varies from 8 to 10 pieces. The scales of the fish are medium in size, there can be from 45 to 55 along the lateral line.
The iris of the eye of the common dace is black. The appearance of the dace is similar to the characteristic features of the chub, but the former is distinguished by a narrower body and head. There is also a characteristic notch on the anal gray-yellow fin of the dace, while in the chub it has a semicircular shape and red coloring.
Where does the dace live?
Yelets likes small rivers, where the current is not so fast, and the water is clean and transparent. You can meet this fish in the waters of flowing lakes, in some floodplain reservoirs, which he sometimes visits. Dace love rocky or sandy bottom surface. Where the bottom is muddy, you will not see this nimble fish. On the territory of our country, dace inhabits river systems and lakes of the Baltic and other southern seas. Fish have chosen the Siberian and Far Eastern waters.
Thus, the Siberian dace can be found in the tributaries:
This species of dace chooses small rivers, gathering in them in numerous flocks, which often crowd out other fish inhabitants. In the river systems belonging to the Pacific basin, dace do not live.
Let's consider the area of settlement of dace, relative to its other subspecies:
- Kyrgyz dace has chosen such rivers as Nura, Chu, Turgay. The fish lives in the water spaces of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan;
- Danilevsky dace can be found on the Don and Dnieper;
- Talas dace lives in the lower reaches of Talas, in the Ass River, in the Ashi-Kul and Bayli lakes -Kul;
- Zerafshan dace inhabited the Amu Darya, Zeravshan and Syr Darya;
- Caspian dace is caught in the waters of the Tejen and Murghab rivers.
On the territories of Belarus and Ukraine, dace inhabits:
- Western Dvina;
- Northern Donets.
In the western part of Europe, the dace lives in the lake and river systems of the Baltic, Black Sea and North Sea basins. You will not meet him in the regions of the Balkan and Iberian Peninsulas. This fish is considered sedentary, but much depends on the quality and purity of the water. If this indicator changes for the worse, flocks of dace swim upstream, looking for clearer water. in such places there is a high content of oxygen in the water.
Now you know where the dace is found. Let's see what he eats.
What does a dace eat?
The dace menu is quite diverse, you can see both animal and vegetable dishes in it origin. The latter are much smaller, but they are still present. Possessing a semi-lower mouth, the dace needs to swim tangentially relative to the water surface in order to quickly and deftly capture food.
Yelets is very nimble and swift, therefore it is able to instantly pounce on everything edible that gets into the water. When a dace feeds on the surface of the water, a small splash is heard, created by the fish body when bouncing.
In the summer, the fish diet consists mainly of all kinds of insects that live in the coastal zone (in tree crowns, shrubs overgrowth and grass near the water) and fall into the water. The dace also eats water insects and their larvae with pleasure.
So, the fish loves to snack on:
- various beetles;
In winter, the menu is mostly composed of:
- daphnia, etc.
In the spring season, during high water, dace graze in floodplain flooded meadows, where they also feast on worms, all kinds of bugs and larvae. Of plant foods, dace prefers to dine with filamentous algae, loves all kinds of cereals (oats, rye, wheat), loves corn. All this can be judged by the contents of the stomachs of those fish that were caught.
Interesting fact: When the spawning period ends, dace begin to eat off, actively eating the eggs of other fish, causing them great harm .
If we talk about fishing, then the tastes of dace change depending on the season. In spring, he likes worms, at the very beginning of the summer period he likes to taste caddis flies, at the end of summer he prefers grasshoppers. Anglers should take note. Due to the selectivity to various baits, dace is considered a difficult prey, in order to catch it you need to try hard and study its habits.
Character and lifestyle features
Based on the fish diet, dace can be quite attributed to predators, and therefore it behaves accordingly: it waits in a stream of water, hiding behind various stones, bottom mounds, snags. The fish instantly attacks insects passing by or falling into the water. Even dace loves to hunt insects that fly low, almost at the very surface of the water. Fish, catching them, jump out slightly, creating a small splash on the surface of the water.
Interesting fact: Dace can be called a schooling fish. Especially young animals, two- and three-year-old individuals live collectively, only elderly fish individuals can stay alone or in groups containing from 2 to 5 dace.
In the summer, when spawning ends, dace tend to go deeper, keeping most of the time near the bottom, so they spend almost the entire summer. On the surface, they can be seen only at dawn and at dusk, especially on bright moonlit nights, when fish are hunting for swarms of insects clustering above the water surface. In search of food, dace can leave deep water and swim closer to the rifts and reaches, when the fish is full, it returns.
With the advent of autumn, dace exist at a depth of 2 to 4 meters, and when it gets very cold, winter approaches, they move into underwater pits, straying into numerous flocks that almost do not move, they do not look for food at this time, so they cannot get caught by anglers . Only with the onset of prolonged thaws, the dace begin a sluggish movement, looking for food.
Fish revival occurs in February-March, before the start of the spawning period, dace leave their wintering pits. If we talk about the character and customs of the dace, then this fish can be called very mobile, nimble, active and quite smart. Agility and speed are not to be occupied by this small aquatic inhabitant. This is evidenced by various observations of fishing enthusiasts.
An interesting fact: If a fisherman finds a place where a dace is constantly deployed, he can only catch 3 or 4 fish. Yelets will immediately understand that it is better not to touch the bait and swim away to another area. In order for the bite to continue, the angler needs to constantly change the casting sites.
Social structure and reproduction
Mature dace become closer to the age of three, by this time they grow up to 10 or 12 cm. Schools of fish begin to rise upstream as soon as the spring ice breaks. During the flood, dace swim in small tributaries, where the water is clean and transparent, the spawning season comes, which originates in the first couple of spring months. During this period, the water should warm up to five degrees with a plus sign, sometimes more. If the weather does not contribute to this, and the water is still cold, then the wedding fish season is postponed for a while.
During spawning, noise reigns on the river, numerous flocks are active and splash in the coastal zone. Ikromet is performed at a time, this process takes from 3 to 5 days. The female lays whitish and rather large eggs on the bottom stones and aquatic plants. One egg in diameter reaches 2 mm. The fecundity of these fish is considered small. Females, 10 to 17 cm long, spawn from 2 to 17 thousand eggs.
After one or two weeks, fry begin to hatch, which stay in coastal waters, where the current is calmer. Growing up to a five-centimeter length, the young swim away to the area of riffles for permanent resettlement. Until the age of two, the fish grows very rapidly, then growth is too slow. By the age of four or five, dace almost do not increase in size at all.
Interesting fact: Single specimens of dace reach thirty centimeters in length, with such a length their age varies from 8 to 10 years, and weight ranges from 350 to 500 grams.
Natural enemies of dace
Although the dace is a predator, it is very small-sized, and therefore it has enough enemies in natural wild conditions. Do not mind eating dace with such larger predatory fish as catfish, pike, pike perch. Do not forget that dace jumps out of the water when they catch insects flying over it, so at these moments they may well become a snack for birds that feed on fish (for example, gulls).
Fish are often overcome by various ailments and illnesses that are associated with helminths living in fish organisms, which is why their life span is significantly reduced.
Daces suffer from:
These diseases can be dangerous for people, but everything is corrected by proper heat treatment and high-quality salting. The most insidious enemies of the dace can be considered a person who harms the fish, both directly and indirectly. People catch these fish, but it cannot be said that in large quantities.
Yelets is not a commercial fish, so it comes across purely by chance or for the sake of sporting interest. Most of all, a person harms a happy fish life, polluting the environment as a whole, including water bodies. There are fewer and fewer transparent and clean rivers, and dace can exist in such waters, therefore, it often dies, being in dirty water, or swims away, looking for more suitable places for permanent deployment.
Population and species status
The distribution area of the dace is quite extensive , but almost everywhere this species of fish becomes small and rare. From year to year there are less and less clean untouched reservoirs, which is why dace becomes a rarity, because it quickly dies in dirty waters.
Dace is not a commercial fish species, so they are not caught on a large scale. People cause damage to fish stock by interfering with natural biotopes, polluting water bodies, pouring sewage, pesticides, and oil products into them. A large number of fish die because of poor quality water. In the south of Europe (the Balkans), now you will not meet dace at all. In the waters of the central regions of our country, the number of this fish has also become extremely small. In some states, dace is considered very rare and even endangered.
The Siberian dace is also experiencing a decline in population. Back in the fifties of the last century, there was a huge amount of this small fish in the Trans-Baikal rivers. When she spawned on the shallows, because of her large numbers, even the bottom was not visible, the dace went in such heaps of schools to spawn. Now the population of these fish has decreased tremendously, because. the state of water resources has deteriorated significantly. In this regard, it can be argued that the dace needs special conservation measures to preserve and stabilize the fish population.
As noted earlier, almost everywhere the number of dace has decreased due to the fact that the ecological state of many river systems leaves much to be desired. All this is of great concern to environmental organizations, so the fish is listed in the Red Lists of various territories. On the territory of Moscow and the Moscow region, dace is considered to be small and since 2001 has been listed in the Red Book of Moscow. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, dace was a commercial species in the city, but in the 1960s, its number was greatly reduced.
Common dace is listed in the Red Book of the Samara region as a small species. On the territory of the Ulyanovsk region, dace is also listed in the Red Book, as a species whose numbers are declining. Danilevsky's dace is listed in the Red Book of the Ryazan region as a rare species, the number of which is not enough information. The dace can be seen in the Red Book of Ukraine, its conservation status says that it is a vulnerable species. Common dace is on the European Red Lists and the IUCN Lists. Almost everywhere, the main limiting factors are pollution of water bodies and lack of places for spawning.
The main conservation measures include:
- Identification of permanent dace spawning sites and their inclusion in the list of protected areas;
- Construction of new and modernization of old water treatment facilities;
- environmental rehabilitation of spawning sites that have undergone degradation;
- imposition of a ban on fishing during the spawning period;
- preservation of coastal zones in their natural form (prohibition of concreting, strengthening with logs, etc.) ;
- regular ichthyological research and observations;
- installation of booms on the most valuable areas of spawning grounds.
In the end, it remains to add that the presence of a small , but a very dexterous and mobile creature, like a dace, in a particular reservoir, indicates a favorable ecological situation in this territory. Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer such places left, so people should seriously think about their activities that are detrimental to nature in order to prevent the disappearance of this silvery and nimble fish.