Rudd - Scardinius Erythrophthalmus

About the Rudd.
The rudd is a beautifully coloured freshwater fish common to many still waters throughout southern England and Ireland.

It is often confused with its relative the roach by the less experienced angler, although the two species readily hybridise together, which can make identification slightly confusing.

To differentiate between the two species it is necessary to look at the mouth, teeth and the position of the dorsal fin.

The rudd has a protruding lower jaw whilst that of the roach is straight and the dorsal fin of the rudd is positioned further back than that of the roach, whose dorsal fin is in alignment with its pelvic fin. The rudd has two rows of pharyngeal teeth in comparison to the roach's one row and a hybrid has a partial second set.

Rudd Identification

The rudd is characterised by its gold colouration across its deep scaly body, which darkens to olive - dark gold across the back and lightens to a creamy yellow on the underside.

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There also exists a silver rudd species that has exactly the same characteristics as the more common golden rudd, yet possesses a dark grey back and silver flanks as opposed to the brassy - bronze colour of the golden version.

All the fins of this fish are bright blood red making the rudd a very striking species indeed.

The head of the rudd is scale-less and fairly small in size. It has two distinguishing features here, the first being its distinctive protruding lower lip, which helps it feed from the surface of the water. Secondly, the iris of the rudd's eyes is golden with a red fleck contained within.

The dorsal fin, which is convex in shape has nine branched rays and begins far down towards the base of the spine behind the front of the convex pelvic fin. The caudal fin is deeply forked and tinged at the end with brown.

Rudd Habitat

The rudd is native to most parts of Europe and some parts of Asia although it has been introduced to other parts of the world such as the USA and New Zealand.

Its preferred habitat is the shallow still waters such as lakes and ponds that are abundant in plant life, weeds, reeds, trees or any aquatic vegetation where the rudd can feed.

They can also be found in slow-moving lowland rivers, oxbow lakes, drains, canals, ponds and even marshes; anywhere where the water flows slowly and is lacking in current.

Rudd are able to survive in waters where there is low oxygen content.

Natural Rudd Food

The rudd tends to feed much more in the warmer months of the year when they shoal together to look for food in areas where there is dense vegetation.

Much of their diet during this time consists of flying insects such as crane fly, mayfly, which they snatch from the surface of the water.

They also eat other insects and larvae that are found near the plants and trees or on the water's edge.

During cooler months rudd prefer to feed from the bottom of the water where they pick up a variety of small crustaceans, worms and other insects, as well as a lot of plant material, algae and plankton.

Larger fish become more solitary and feed heavily on plant material although they are also known to eat small fry including their own species.

Rudd Reproduction

Rudd are sexually mature after three or four years.

Spawning usually takes place late May and June where the female will lay anything between 90,000 to 200,000 sticky, small eggs amongst the weeds in shallow waters. The eggs stick to the vegetation until they are ready to hatch, which will usually be in about one to two weeks.

Growth is fairly slow for the rudd, particularly if food is sparse, in which case many rudd often end up stunted. If there is an abundance of food and enough for the thousands of tiny fry, the rudd can reach up to 7cm in its first year.

The Rudd's Vital Statistics

  • Average weight: 8oz (225g)
  • Average length: 14 inches (35cm)
  • Specimen weight: 2lb (0.9kg)
  • Life-span: up to 17 years in the wild but on average 12 years
  • Current UK record: 4lb 10oz, (County Armargh Lake, Northern Ireland)
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