Monday, November 5, 2012

Huchen

Hucho hucho
Today's animal is the Huchen, a freshwater fish also known as the Danube Salmon. These Salmon-family members originated in the aforementioned river basin, but have since spread to other parts of Europe and Morocco. However, even with introductions, the species is still considered Endangered due to habitat fragmentation and pollution.

Habitat fragmentation has had a huge impact on the reproductive cycle of the Huchen. Like their cousins in the west, they need to swim upriver in order to spawn, a process made very difficult by the addition of dams. Furthermore, some populations cannot breed at all, due to high water temperatures (like those introduced to Morocco). Huchen eggs need specific water temperatures in order to hatch.

There have been efforts made to protect the Huchen and their environment, including cleaning up the rivers, placing more regulations on fishing, and restocking.

You can identify a Huchen by their slender, cylindrical bodies, reddish-brown coloration, and dark patches. They feed on other fish, invertebrates, and water dwelling birds and mammals.

IUCN Status : Endangered
Location : Europe
Size : Length up to 5ft (1.5m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Salmoniformes
Family : Salmonidae -- Genus : Hucho -- Species : H. hucho

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