Common dace

The common dace (Leuciscus leuciscus) is a species of freshwater and brackish water ray-finned fish from the family Cyprinidae which is native to Europe but which has been introduced to other parts of the world. It is a quarry species for coarse anglers.

Common dace
Leuciscus leuciscus.jpg
Leuciscus leuciscus drawing.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Subfamily: Leuciscinae
Genus: Leuciscus
L. leuciscus
Binomial name
Leuciscus leuciscus
  • Cyprinus leuciscus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Cyprinus dobula Linnaeus, 1758
  • Leuciscus dobula (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Cyprinus grislagine Linnaeus, 1758
  • Cyprinus graining Walbaum, 1792
  • Cyprinus squalus Walbaum, 1792
  • Cyprinus umbra Walbaum, 1792
  • Cyprinus lancastriensis Shaw, 1804
  • Cyprinus simus Römer-Büchner, 1827
  • Leuciscus vulgaris Fleming, 1828
  • Leuciscus argenteus Fitzinger, 1832
  • Leuciscus rostratus Agassiz, 1835
  • Leuciscus rodens Agassiz, 1835
  • Leuciscus majalis Agassiz, 1835
  • Cyprinus mugilis Vallot, 1837
  • Leuciscus rostratus Valenciennes, 1844
  • Leuciscus saltator Bonaparte, 1846
  • Squalius lepusculus Heckel, 1852
  • Squalius chalybeius Heckel, 1852
  • Cyprinus salax Gronow, 1854
  • Squalius mehdem Warpachowski, 1897
  • Idus stagnalis Dubalen, 1913


The common dace differs from other members in the genus Leuciscus found in Europe by its inferior mouth, slightly longer upper jaw which has the tip of the upper lip level with the centre line of the eye and the lack of an obvious snout.[2] It has a yellowish iris and a body which is covered in large silvery scales, the lateral line having 49–52 scales. The anal fin has a concave margin and the caudal fin is forked.[3] The dorsal fin has 2–3 spines and 7–9 soft rays while the anal fin has 3 spines and 8–9 soft rays. The maximum size attained is a total length of 30 centimetres (12 in).[2]


The common dace is native to Europe and northern Asia where its occurs in the basins of the North Sea, Baltic Sea, White Sea and Barents Sea. It also occurs in the basin of the Caspian Sea and in the Black Sea basin it is found in the drainage systems of the Volga and Ural Rivers as well as in the Danube and the Dneiper. In France it occurs in the Seine River drainage and in the drainages of the Rhone and Arc which flow into the Mediterranean. In the Danube main river of Romania as well as in Scandinavia north of 69°N and most of central Finland this species has a localised distribution. The populations from Siberia and East Asia are normally assigned to Leuciscus baicalensis and Leuciscus dzungaricus. This species has been widely introduced in areas of Europe where it was not found, for example it has become established in Ireland having been taken there as a bait fish to catch larger fish such as pike.[2]

Habitat and biologyEdit

The common dace is found in rivers and streams, sometime occurring in lakes or in the brackish water at the mouths of rivers.[3] It is a surface dwelling fish which gather in shoals of adults in the lower reaches of rivers and backwaters during the winter. Some adults remain upstream in the spawning grounds all winter as well. At spawning time, in March and April, they migrate up stream to lay their pale yellow eggs on shallow gravel beds in fast flowing streams, the eggs attach to gravel and stones. The juveniles hide among the cavities and roots in the bankside vegetation and as they mature they move into faster flowing water. The main food for common dace is small invertebrates.[2]


The common dace is fished for by coarse anglers and the British rod caught record is 1.4 pounds (0.64 kg).[4] In some parts of Europe it is eaten[2] but it is not highly regarded as a food fish.[5] It is used as bait by anglers[2] and that is thought to be the mechanism by which it was introduced to and spread in Ireland.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Freyhof, J. (2011). "Leuciscus leuciscus (errata version published in 2016)". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2011: e.T11887A97808936. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2019). "Leuciscus leuciscus" in FishBase. December 2019 version.
  3. ^ a b Peter S. Maitland (2000). Hamlyn Guide to Freshwater Fishes of Britain and Europe. Octopus Publishing Group. p. 124. ISBN 0600596907.
  4. ^ "British Record Fish – coarse fish records". Angers Mail. 1 March 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Leuciscus leuciscus Dace Deas". National Biodiversity Data Centre. Retrieved 12 March 2020.

External linksEdit