Seine River Demersal Habitat
This taxon is one of a number of demersal species in the Seine River system of Western Europe. Demersal river fish are found at the river bottom, feeding on benthos and zooplankton
The Marne and Yonne exhibit the greatest torrential flows, due to the percentage of their courses underlain by impermeable strata, in combination with the river gradients. Although the Loing manifests the highest percentage of impermeable strata of all the tributaries, its low gradient mitigates against torrential velocities. Thus the majority of the Seine and its tributaries exhibit a relaxed generally even flow rate.
Seine water pollutant loads of heavy metals, nutrients, sediment and bacteria are relatively high, especially influnced by wastewater and surface runoff from Paris and its suburbs. Parisian pollutant loadings are noted to be particularly high during periods of high rainfall, not only due to high runoff, but also from the inadequate sewage treatment facilities in periods of high combined wastewater/stormwater flow.
Heavy metal concentrations at Poses weir reveal the following levels: copper, 1.9 milligrams per liter; cadmium, 32 mg/l; and lead, 456 mg/l. Concentrations of zinc are also quite high, making the Seine Estuary one of the most highly contaminated estuaries in the world with respect especially to lead and cadmium. Significant amounts of toxic pollutants are also attached to sediments deposited in the Seine during the last two centuries, including mercury, nickel, chromium, toluene, DDT and a variety of herbicides and pesticides. Downriver from Paris, significant quantites of ammonium are discharged into the Seine from effluent of the Achères wastewater treatment plant.
There are a total of 37 fish species inhabiting the Seine, and another two taxa that are known to have been extirpated in modern times. Two of the largest aquatic fauna known to have lived in the Seine are now locally extinct: the 500 centimeter (cm) long sturgeon (Acipenser sturio) and the 83 cm long allis shad (Alosa alosa).
The largest extant native demersal (species living on or near the river bottom) taxa in the Seine are:
the 133 cm European eel (Anguilla anguilla);
the 150 cm northern pike (Esox lucius);
the 120 cm sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus); and,
the 152 cm Burbot (Lota lota).
Habitat and Ecology
Usually in flowing stretches of streams and medium-sized rivers with gravel to stone bottom, but also in a variety of other habitats, including sandy canals and lake shores. Spawns on gravel, sand or among aquatic vegetation. Larvae and small juveniles prefer sand bottom and slow current, shifting to gravel bottom and fast current when growing.
Spawns for the first time usually at one year in central and southern Europe, 2-3 years in nutrient poor habitats and in northern Europe; most individuals spawn 1-2 seasons. Spawns in April-June at temperatures above 10°C, usually early morning. Open substrate, multiple spawner. Eggs are released in open water, often close to surface, drift and adhere to different substrates; they are often covered by sand or detritus. Individual females may spawn every day for a short period. Benthic larvae. Feeds on relative large benthic invertebrates (gammarids, chironomids, insect larvae). Tolerant to moderate organic pollution and stream canalisation, very sensitive to pollution by heavy metals.
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Barbatula barbatula toni
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
Barcode data: Barbatula barbatula
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Barbatula barbatula
Public Records: 30
Specimens with Barcodes: 118
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
European Union 27 = LC. Rationale same as above.
- 2008Least Concern(IUCN 2008)
- 2008Least Concern
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern(Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
It is found in Baltic states, Eastern Europe, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Stone loaches live amongst the gravel and stones of fast flowing water where they can search for food. The most distinctive feature of this 14 cm fish is the presence of barbels around the bottom jaw, which they use to detect their invertebrate prey. The body is a mixture of brown, green and yellow.
The stone loach is a small, slender bottom-dwelling fish growing to a length of about 14 cm (6 in). Its eyes are situated high on its head and it has three pairs of short barbels on its lower jaw below its mouth. It has a rounded body that is not much laterally flattened and is a little less deep in the body than the spined loach (Cobitis taenia) and lacks that fish's spines beneath the eye. It has rounded dorsal and caudal fins with their tips slightly notched, but the spined loach has even more rounded fins. The general colour of this fish is yellowish-brown with blotches and vertical bands of darker colour. An indistinct dark line runs from the snout to the eye. The fins are brownish with faint dark banding.
Distribution and habitat
The stone loach is a common species and is found over most of Europe in suitable clear rivers and streams with gravel and sandy bottoms. It is present in upland areas, also chalk streams, lakes and reservoirs as long as the water is well-oxygenated. These fish sometimes venture into estuaries but not into brackish water. They live on the bottom, often partly buried, and they are particularly active at night when they rootle among the sand and gravel for the small invertebrates on which they feed.
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