State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Abramis brama (Linnaeus, 1758)

Vernacular Name
Bream, Common Bream, Freshwater Bream, Bronze bream, Carp Bream
Conservation status
No status defined
Value of species
Fishing species
Other breams traditionally included in Abramis are now placed in Ballerus, Blicca and Vimba. Most European drainages, from Adour (France) to Pechora (White Sea basin); Aegean Sea basin, in Lake Volvi and Struma and Maritza drainages. Naturally absent from Iberian Peninsula, Adriatic basin, Italy, Scotland, Scandinavia north of Bergen (Norway) and 67°N (Finland). Locally introduced in Ireland, Spain and northeastern Italy. In Asia, Marmara basin (Turkey) and eastward to Aral basin. Introduced in Lake Baikal and upper Ob and Yenisei drainages. Habitat: A wide variety of lakes and large to medium sized rivers. Most abundant in backwaters, lower reaches of slow-flowing rivers, brackish estuaries and warm and shallow lakes. Semi-anadromous individuals enter freshened parts of seas to forage. Usually spawns in densely vegetated backwaters, floodplains or lake shores. Sometimes far from shore. Nearly all surfaces can be used for spawning. Biology: Gregarious. During winter, form large aggregations, often together with other fish. Lives about 10-20 years. Spawns for the first time at 3-4 years. Some females do not spawn every year. Spawns in May-June at temperatures above 15°C. In many populations, spawning migration starts in autumn (especially semi-anadromous individuals), slows down during winter and continues in spring. Migrate far upriver (100 km in Dniepr) to spawn. Males with nuptial tubercles on head and body. Males often defend spawning territories along shoreline. Females spawn from once a year over a few days (Rhine) to 1-3 portions, at 7-14 days intervals (Lake Ilmen). Eggs are sticky and egg size increase with age of female. Larvae and juveniles inhabit still water bodies, feeding on plankton. Survival of juvenile is high in backwaters and low in main channel of large rivers. Growth is faster in main river than in backwaters. Juveniles 1-2 years old move from backwaters to river for feeding and then return to backwaters to spawn. If juveniles do not have an opportunity to leave backwaters, they are able to adapt but have a slower growth and reach maturity at a smaller size (stunted populations). In lower parts of large rivers, juveniles drift to brackish estuaries to forage when water level of flooded areas drops. Juveniles forage in brackish waters enter lower parts of rivers to overwinter in freshwater. Juveniles mostly feed on zooplankton. Feeds on benthic invertebrates, which are dug out of fine bottom sediments, and also often on molluscs. May shift to particle feeding or even filter feeding at high zooplankton abundance. Frequently forms fertile hybrids with Rutilus rutilus.
Book reference
  • Соколов Н.Ю. Каталог колекції круглоротих і риб Державного природознавчого музею НАН України // Наукові записки Державного природознавчого музею. – Львів, 2004. – Т.19. – С. 15-28.
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  • Шацьке поозер’я. Тваринний світ: кол. моногр. / А.-Т.В. Башта, В.К. Бігун, М.Г. Білецька [та ін.]; за ред. П.Я. Кілочицького. – Луцьк : Вежа-Друк, 2016. - 610 с. (Електронне видання на CD-ROM)
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Taxonomic branch