Fun Common Dace Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 02, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Sep 10, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Common dace facts talk about their habitats and their survival in those habitats.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

The common dace (Leuciscus leuciscus) is a ray-finned freshwater fish of the Cyprinidae family. The species derived its binomial name from the Greek language. The term 'Leuciscus leuciscus' has been taken from the Greek 'leykiskos' and 'leucos', meaning 'white mullet' and 'shining white'.

The species has a high demand in the commercial market, especially for sport fishing and human consumption. The fish can be found in menus of several European countries, although they're not too famous for their flesh.

On the other hand, the species is extremely popular among the anglers as bait fish. As history would have it, the species was a non-native in Ireland.

It is believed that some English anglers brought in the invasive freshwater fish while pike fishing. It was back in the 19th century that the roach and dace were used as bait fishes for a larger catch (the pike).

Some of the bait fish survived in Munster Blackwater, and with time, the population multiplied. The species was first discovered in 1992 in River Barrow, near the village of Saint Mullins.

Distinctions between the two similar-looking fish, that is, the roach and dace, were made on the basis of the color of the eye and body shape. While the former has a red-colored eye, the latter possesses a yellowish iris and a comparatively slimmer body.

If you want to indulge in some more intriguing facts about other fish species, then don't forget to look up the Pajama Cardinalfish and longnose sucker.

Common Dace Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a common dace?

The common dace (Leuciscus leuciscus) is a species of freshwater fish belonging to the Cyprinidae family.

What class of animal does a common dace belong to?

The species has been categorized in the Actinopterygii class and Leuciscus genus.

How many common daces are there in the world?

The accurate number of adults in current existence is unknown owing to a lack of data, but the species is quite abundant throughout its habitat range.

Although the population of the species is spread all over Europe, the population in Ireland is a result of the introduction of the fish as a bait to catch other fish like the highly demanded predatory pike.

Where does a common dace live?

Endemic to northern Asia and Europe, populations of the fish are dispersed throughout the Baltic, Barents, North, and White seas. The river basins of the Atlantic Ocean, Black Sea, and the Caspian Sea, mainly the Ural, Volga, Dnieper, and Danube, boast of Leuciscus leuciscus.

The fish is largely used as a bait-fish in Ireland.

In France, the species can be found in the Mediterranean basin, particularly in the drainage systems of the Rhône and Arc rivers. The species can also be traced in the basins of Romania and Central Finland.

What is a common dace's habitat?

Rivers, streams, freshwater lakes constitute the habitat range of the species. They prefer to inhabit large rivers and streams with a medium to fast water flow. The juveniles can be mostly located near shallow shores. Regular migrations to spawning sites located in the basins and tributaries are common with the species.

Who do common daces live with?

Common daces exhibit an outgoing nature and can often be spotted in small schools. The adults often gather in dense swarms during winter. Also, the males can be seen forming large groups for spawning where every male protects and defends its small-sized territory.

How long does a common dace live?

The species survives for more than a decade, given that their life is not cut short owing to its commercial demand. The lifespan of the common dace extends from 10-16 years.

How do they reproduce?

The fish attains sexual maturity at the age of three years. Spawning normally occurs in the months of March and April on the shallow beds filled with gravel and in small river tributaries where there's rapid flowing water. The ideal temperature for spawning is 48.2 degrees F (9 degrees C).

The females are territorial and engage in spawning only once every year. The females are capable of laying 6,500-9,500 eggs. The males create cavities among the gravel.

The yellow-colored eggs are deposited in excavations where they stick to the gravel and rock particles. The juveniles remain concealed in the depressions made on the gravels or thick vegetative matter, feeding only on invertebrates. Eventually, with maturity, they enter fast-flowing waterbodies.

What is their conservation status?

As per the data of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the common dace (Leuciscus leuciscus) of the family Cyprinidae is plentiful within its geographical range, qualifying them to the Least Concern group.

The fish population is spread throughout Europe and northern Asia. The species had also been introduced to the drainage systems of Ireland and Britain in the 19th century.

Although no accurate data of the breeding population is available, it is pretty evident that the fish is available in abundance, often being caught as a gamefish.

Common Dace Fun Facts

What do common daces look like?

The slender body of the fish is covered with silvery scales. The head is pointed and narrow with a dusky blue hue, while the iris is yellowish.

It has a white belly, a deeply forked tail, and a small mouth. While the dorsal, caudal, and pectoral fins have black edges, the anal fins are white. Interestingly, the snout is missing.

Common dace facts are all about European freshwater fishes.

How cute are they?

Opinions are divided while evaluating the cuteness quotient of fishes. Generally, vibrant aquarium fish are considered adorable, while others are mostly frowned upon for their generic appearance. Judging by this standard, the species falls under the not-so-cute group.

How do they communicate?

No data is available on how these dace fishes communicate with each other. However, fish can establish communication with each other in a number of ways. They interact via sound, bioluminescence, color, electrical impulses, smell as well as motion.

Normally, the crock, pop, and purr sounds are used during breeding, spawning, or even fighting. Another unique way to communicate is by urinating. Signals are transmitted through the smell of pheromones released in the water.

How big is a common dace?

The common dace (Leuciscus leuciscus) can grow up to a length of 12 in (30 cm). In comparison to the white sturgeon measuring around 82.7-240.2 in (210-610 cm), the species is minuscule.

How fast can a common dace swim?

Although the speed range of the common daces lacks detailed description, it can be assumed that they have imbibed the average swimming speed of medium-sized freshwater fishes that can normally swim at about seven mph (11.3 kph).

How much does a common dace weigh?

The average weight of the medium-sized bait-fish of the family Cyprinidae falls in the range of 1-1.5 lb (0.5-0.7 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Neither the male nor the female fish has a distinct name. They are just referred to as male and female dace.

What would you call a baby common dace?

A baby fish is commonly called a fry.

What do they eat?

The diet of the species mainly consists of small invertebrates. They can be spotted feeding on worms, snails, insects, and their larvae and seldom including vegetative matter.

Are they dangerous?

This bait-fish is not at all considered dangerous as they're very sociable. Moreover, they do not pose a major threat to humans due to their non-aggressive nature.

Would they make a good pet?

This brackish water and freshwater fish is not usually found in the pet trade like the clownfish or gobies, and hence its behavior as a pet lacks a detailed description. A majority of the dace species, apart from the rainbow dace, redbelly dace, and the blacknose dace, are not believed to be ideal pets.

Did you know...

In Ireland, the dace with the highest weight has been recorded at 75 lb (340 g). The specimen was fished out at Carrick on 27 August.

However, the fish is considered a threat to some of the native fish species (such as the salmonoids and brown trout) due to their competitive nature while preying for food that mainly includes worms, snails, insects, and their larvae.

The dace has found its way to several kitchens in Europe and the USA because of its delicious flesh, but they're considered more of a 'coarse fish'. It is not too preferred as a food fish, mostly because of its spines. However, it is used to prepare delectable fish balls in Asia.

What is the meaning of dace?

The common dace also goes by the name of dart fish or dartfish. The history of the name can be located in the Anglo-French term 'dars' or the Medieval Latin word 'darsus', which implies a sudden swift movement.

Do daces live in lakes?

Leuciscus leuciscus can be commonly found in freshwater lakes as well as brackish waters, but they're more common in rivers and streams.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our sand tiger shark facts and Tecopa pupfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable intricate fish coloring pages.


Second image by Akos Harka.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gowri Rao picture

Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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