Scientific Name: Scardinius erythrophthalmus

Noel M. Burkhead - U.S. Geological SurveyCopyright Info

Identification: The rudd is a bottom-dwelling fish with a somewhat stocky body and a forked tail. Its protruding lower lip is steeply angled. The back of this fish is dark greenish-brown, and the sides are brassy yellow, fading to a whitish belly. Its fins are reddish-orange to reddish-brown. This species is also known as the pearl roach.

Size: This species can grow up to 19 inches (48 cm) in length.

Native Range: The rudd is native to Western Europe, east to the Caspian and Aral Sea basins.

Table 1. Great Lakes region nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state/province, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Scardinius erythrophthalmus are found here.

Full list of USGS occurrences

State/ProvinceYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
Indiana199919991Little Calumet-Galien
New York1931201715Buffalo-Eighteenmile; Chateaugay-English; Headwaters St. Lawrence River; Indian; Irondequoit-Ninemile; Lake Champlain; Lake Erie; Lake Ontario; Lower Genesee; Niagara; Oak Orchard-Twelvemile; Oneida; Salmon-Sandy; Seneca; Upper Genesee
Ohio200920091Lake Erie
Pennsylvania199920121Lake Erie
Vermont199120052Lake Champlain; Mettawee River
Wisconsin198819952Lake Michigan; Lake Winnebago

Table last updated 9/30/2019

† Populations may not be currently present.

* HUCs are not listed for areas where the observation(s) cannot be approximated to a HUC (e.g. state centroids or Canadian provinces).

Means of Introduction: Rudd may have been introduced to the United States as early as the late 1800s. The first verifiable record is from 1916, when 300 fish were transferred from a New York aquarium to Lake Oconomowoc in Wisconsin. The origin of the first New York fish is not known. However, rudd is popular in Europe as a food and game species, and it may have been introduced for both purposes.

Much of the recent spread of the rudd can be attributed to its popularity as bait among striped bass (Morone saxatilis) anglers. Rudd was widely introduced by bait bucket releases and by escapes from aquaculture facilities and farm ponds. Although many rudd introductions were accidental, it is likely that rudd also has been intentionally released into public waters during the past few decades. Once it is introduced, the fish is believed to spread on its own within a waterway.

Status: This species has been recorded in 21 eastern and midwestern states as far west as Colorado. It has also been found in Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario.

Remarks: Many states now outlaw the use of rudd as live bait. As a result, its once rapid spread appears to have slowed.

Author: Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Contributing Agencies:
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Revision Date: 9/25/2012

Citation for this information:
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, 2019, Rudd: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, and NOAA Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System, Ann Arbor, MI,, Revision Date: 9/25/2012, Access Date: 10/13/2019

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.