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Roach

The Roach resembles a number of closely related species, such as common bream, silver bream, chub, rudd and bleak. Firm identification can be difficult at times, as the roach often hybridises with these other fish. Only the one species is recognised in Britain, but in other European countries its variable body form has led to descriptions of a number of subspecies.
roach

Although young roach are slim, adult fish are relatively deep-bodied, especially in waters where feeding conditions are favourable. The body is laterally flattened, with a small head and a small, slightly oblique, terminal mouth. A single row of throat teeth helps to distinguish it from some close relatives, which have two rows.

The body colour is variable but is usually dark on the back shading to a white underbelly. The dorsal and caudal fins are usually dark brown but the colour of the pelvic and anal fins may range from orange to a vermilion red.

The iris of the eye is red and has given rise to a common name of redeye and probably the Latin name of Rutilus rutilus, which means ‘golden red’.

The roach resembles a number of closely related species, such as common bream, silver bream, chub, rudd and bleak. Firm identification can be difficult at times, as the roach often hybridises with these other fish. Only the one species is recognised in Britain, but in other European countries its variable body form has led to descriptions of a number of subspecies.

Many parasites and diseases affect roach. In the 1960s stocks suffered severely following an outbreak of roach ulcer disease – this was later shown to be due to a bacterial infection.

The tapeworm, Ligula intestinalis, is a common parasite and can cause both high mortality and reduced breeding success. It is found in the body cavity and causes a very bloated appearance.

The roach is a shoaling species that is active throughout the year, even in the coldest weather. It will feed throughout the day, although like many other species, it is more active at dusk and dawn. These characteristics endear it to anglers, because good catches of roach can be made most of the time.