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Sunbleak or motherless minnow

Probably better known by anglers as the motherless minnow, this tiny fish often occurs in huge shoals.

Angling on the canals Angling on the canals

Appearance: sunbleak (Leucaspius delineates) are streamlined in shape, bright silver in colouration with a white belly. The mouth is distinctive in that it is upturned and has a protruding lower jaw. Eyes are large in proportion to its head and it has a large deeply forked tail.

Typical size: 5-8cm

Lateral Line: an incomplete lateral line extending only over the first 2 to 13 scales. The scale count along the body of the fish is 40 to 46 scales.

Lifespan: up to 5 years

This is an invasive non-native species and is native to Central and Eastern Europe. It occurs in the UK mainly in Southern England and probably found its way here through the aquatic trade, with fish then escaping or being illegally introduced into the wild.

The Sunbleak inhabits weedy water bodies and will colonise rivers, ponds and canals. They reproduce rapidly and out-compete native fish such as Roach and Rudd. They feed on tiny zooplankton and flies taken at the surface of the water.

Last date edited: 23 November 2015