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Cobitis taenia Linnaeus, 1758

Spined loach
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Cobitis taenia
Picture by Muséum-Aquarium de Nancy/D. Terver

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes(genus, species) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Teleostei (teleosts) > Cypriniformes (Carps) > Cobitidae (Spined loaches)
Etymology: Cobitis: Greek, kobitis, -idos = a kind of sardine; also related with the voice Greek, kobios, Latin gobius = gudgeon (Ref. 45335).
More on author: Linnaeus.

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Freshwater; benthopelagic; pH range: 7.0 - 7.7; dH range: 10 - 15; potamodromous (Ref. 51243). Temperate; 14°C - 18°C (Ref. 1672); 62°N - 36°N, 7°W - 40°E

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Europe and Asia: Atlantic drainages from Loire northward; Baltic basin south of 61°N; upper olga and Ural drainages; northern Black Sea basin (except Danube). Ancient records from Ardour and Garonne drainages in France require confirmation (Ref. 59043).

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 5.3, range 8 - ? cm
Max length : 13.5 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 1441); 9.5 cm SL (female); common length : 5.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 556); max. reported age: 5 years (Ref. 59043)

Short description Identification keys | Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 3; Dorsal soft rays (total): 6 - 8; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 5; Vertebrae: 40 - 42. Caudal fin with 15-16 rays (Ref. 2196). Single small spot on upper caudal base. Pigmentation (Gambetta's longitudinal zone of pigmentation): zones Z1-Z4 usually well differentiated, extending backward to caudal peduncle; height of blotches of zone Z4 usually less than 2 times in their length; if more than 2 times, then height equal to or greater than horizontal eye diameter. One lamina circularis (Ref. 59043).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Adults occur in slow-flowing and still waters with fine sandy substrate (Ref. 9696). They occur in the Baltic Sea at salinities of up to 5 ppt (Ref. 59043). Filter sand for food particles (Ref. 36876). Nocturnal, stays hidden under rocks or buried in the sand or mud during the day (Ref. 30578). Oviparous, with distinct pairing during breeding (Ref. 205). Spawn in spring; scatters eggs into mats of plant material (Ref. 36876). Eggs are found attached to gravel and weed in shallow, flowing water (Ref. 41678). Larvae hide under vegetation and in debris until beginning of exogenous feeding (Ref. 59043).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturities | Reproduction | Spawnings | Egg(s) | Fecundities | Larvae

Start of courtship is observed when both male and female swim excitedly then progresses to a chase done by the male. When movements become synchronised, the male entwines itself around the female's body, squeezing it and causing egg spawning (Ref. 58425). Triploid females can occur; they produce triploid eggs which can develop without fertilization, but need contact with sperm to start development (gynogenesis) (Ref. 36876). Also Ref. 9953.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Vostradovsky, J., 1973. Freshwater fishes. The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, London. 252 p. (Ref. 9696)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 130435)

  Least Concern (LC) ; Date assessed: 05 March 2010


Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: of no interest; aquarium: public aquariums
FAO - Publication: search | FishSource |

More information

Trophic ecology
Food items
Diet compositions
Food consumptions
Food rations
Population dynamics
Max. ages / sizes
Length-weight rel.
Length-length rel.
Mass conversions
Life cycle
Spawning aggregations
Egg developments
Larval dynamics
Gill areas
Body compositions
Oxygen consumptions
Swimming type
Swimming speeds
Visual pigment(s)
Fish sounds
Diseases / Parasites
Toxicities (LC50s)
Human related
Aquaculture systems
Aquaculture profiles
Ciguatera cases
Stamps, coins, misc.


Special reports

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Internet sources

AFORO (otoliths) | Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes: genus, species | DiscoverLife | DORIS | ECOTOX | FAO - Publication: search | Faunafri | Fishipedia | Fishtrace | GenBank: genome, nucleotide | GloBI | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | National databases | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | Public aquariums | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | Socotra Atlas | Tree of Life | Wikipedia: Go, Search | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoobank | Zoological Record

Estimates based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00479 (0.00290 - 0.00790), b=3.10 (2.96 - 3.24), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic level (Ref. 69278):  3.3   ±0.4 se; based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 120179):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (tm=1-2; tmax=8; K=0.29-0.59; Fec=100-1,000).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low to moderate vulnerability (33 of 100).