Structure and Dynamics of Crucians’ Settlements (Cypriniformes, Carassius) in Water Systems of Eastern Ukraine

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Abstract

The analysis of present-day crucians’ settlements in water systems of Eastern Ukraine designated the predominance of the digeneous Goldfish, C. auratus, in the region, the number of which made 78.7 %, from the total number of the examined representatives of the genus. The second group consists of gynogenetic Prussian carps, C. gibelio (14.3 %); it is represented by the clone biotype and recombinant individuals. Crucian carp, C. carassius (3.6 %), turned out to be rare and its number did not exceed the number of the caught hybrids C. auratus × C. carassius (3.4 %). The retrospective analysis of literature data and museum collections gave an opportunity to describe the changes in species composition of the genus which took place during the last 150 years. Within this period the crucian carp, which used to be the single and most common representative of genus Carassius (Jarocki, 1822) in the region, became nearly an extinct species. In the meanwhile the representatives of the group of species of Prussian carps, C. auratus + C. gibelio, which appeared in the region in the late 1960s, rapidly increased their number and became the most numerous fish of the Eastern Ukraine. The discovered tendency is not unique for the researched region; in general it reflects the European tendency for the crucian species. The reasons for that are rivers’ regulation and destruction of bottomland ecosystems. The secondary factors for the elimination of C. carassius are the competitive relations of individuals representing both species and easy hybridization, during which the more numerous species C. auratus absorbs the rare C. carassius.

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