Bleak (Alburnus alburnas)

Identification.

Bleak (Alburnus alburnas)

Bleak are slim bodied and slender. Head scaleless, pointed, with an oblique mouth opening on the upper surface of the head. Eyes relatively large, scales large, very thin and fragile, easily dislodged, 48-55 in the lateral line.

The anal fin pf Bleak is long based, concave at the edge, with 16-20 branched rays. Coloration, back and upper sides blue-green, lower sides and belly brilliant silver. The fins are greyish, white ventrally.

Habitat.

Bleak live mainly in slow flowing mainland rivers, but penetrates well upstream to the middle reaches of rivers. Survives well in turbid and poorly oxygenated water but is then seen mostly on the surface.

Food.

Bleak eat animal plankton, especially small crustaceans, flying insects when they settle on the water. It is well equipped to feed at the surface of the water.

Breeding.

Bleak spawn in May or June in shallow water over stones or shallow weed beds.

Statistics.

Although bleak are very small, they can be caught in large numbers. The current UK record is 4oz 9drams.

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