Leuciscus idus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Name: Ide

Synonyms and Other Names:

Silver Orfe, Golden Orfe, Golden Ide, Cyprinus idus (Linnaeus, 1758), Idus idus (Linnaeus, 1758), Idus melanotus (Heckel, 1843)

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Identification: Leuciscus idus is a medium-sized fish with a thick minnow-shaped body, a small, bluntly-pointed head, a forked tail, and a distinct arch in the belly and back (Stahlman, 2016). It exhibits dark coloration on the back and sides above the lateral line, paler coloration on the belly, and red-orange fins. Two color morphs exist: the wild form is an olive-gray color shading to silver with reddish fins, while the ornamental variety has a bright orange back, silvery-orange belly, and bright orange fins (Stahlman, 2016). The Golden Orfe or Golden Ide is the domestic form, with portions of the body and fins pinkish-gold or red-orange. This colorful variety has received some degree of attention as an ornamental pond fish since its first introduction into this country near the turn of the century (e.g., Bean 1896, 1903).

L. idus is superficially similar to many native North American cyprinids and does not possess a unique characteristic that easily sets it apart from native species (Nico and Fuller, 2008). However, L. idus can be distinguished from most native North American cyprinids using the following characteristics: pharyngeal teeth 3,5-5,3, no barbels, lateral-line scales 55-63, and typically 8 branched dorsal rays (Nico and Fuller 2008). Further distinguishing characteristics and photographs or illustrations appeared in Berg (1949), Muus and Dahlstrom (1978), Wheeler (1978), Phillips and Rix (1985), Ladiges and Vogt (1986), and Smith (1995), along with Page and Burr (1991).

Size: 102 cm

Native Range: Native from northern Europe through Siberia (Berg 1949; Robins et al. 1991).

This species is not currently in the Great Lakes region but may be elsewhere in the US. See the point map for details.

Table 1. States/provinces with 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 Leuciscus idus are found here.

State/ProvinceFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CT196819963New England Region; Outlet Connecticut River; Thames
FL189418941South Atlantic-Gulf Region
GA189418941South Atlantic-Gulf Region
IN189418941Ohio Region
ME189219832New England Region; Penobscot River
MD189419993Mid Atlantic Region; Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan; Potomac
MA189420052Ashuelot River-Connecticut River; New England Region
NE188418841Missouri Region
NJ189418941Mid-Atlantic Region
PA189419833Conococheague-Opequon; Lower Delaware; Lower Susquehanna
TN189419891Lower Clinch
TX189420013Lake Texoma; Lower Sulpher; Red-Washita
VA189419993Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan; Potomac; Shenandoah

Table last updated 2/27/2023

† 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).

Ecology: In its native range, L. idus is migratory and found in both freshwater and brackish water habitats (Muus and Dahlstrom 1978). Leuciscus idus is native to northern Europe and Siberia. The Siberian climate is quite varied, but has an average low temperature in January of -12°C, and an average high temperature in July of 25.7°C. Precipitation is low in the north, but high in the south with heavy summer rainfall up to 850mm. Leuciscus idus tolerates a wide range of conditions (Seeley 1962) and can successfully reproduce in waters of 8-23°C (Kupren et al. 2011). However, it does show reduced foraging success in turbid waters (Kuliskova et al. 2009). This species eats larval and adult insects, snails, and other invertebrates; larger individuals also take small fish (Phillips and Rix 1985).

Leuciscus idus spawn in tributaries where their eggs attach to gravel, weeds, and stones (Froese 2013). Juveniles prefer water depths up to 2 m and flow velocities of about 0.5 m/s2 (Grift 2001).

Means of Introduction: L. idus was first imported in 1877 by the U.S. Fish Commission (Baird 1879). Historically, it was intentionally stocked  by the U.S. Fish Commission, and has also escaped from commercial and government ponds (Lee et al. 1980). In 1889, an estimated 20 L. idus, along with other foreign cyprinids, escaped into the Potomac River from fish ponds in Washington D.C., during a flood event (McDonald 1893). Similarly, Schwartz (1963) stated that this species may have escaped from commercial ponds at Thurmont, Maryland, into the Monocacy River; but he did not report when or other details. L. idus were also consigned to fish farmers in Virginia from 1892 to 1894 (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994). According to Courtenay et al. (1984, 1986), the U.S. Fish Commission gave no specific reason for importing and distributing this species, although they assumed that the intended use was both as an ornamental and food fish. Bean (1903) indicated that this species was introduced into American ponds for ornamental purposes. Reports of L. idus culture in Arkansas are incongruous. Fletcher and Hallock (1992) reported that Arkansas fish farmers were raising L. idus for bait in the early 1990s. However, recent discussions with University of Arkansas personnel, fish farmers, and other local experts indicate there are no known records of L. idus culture in Arkansas and that they are doubtful the the species was ever raised commercially there (N. Stone, Univ. of Ark., pers. comm., 2005). In the early 1980s this species was reportedly being used as a bait fish in Tennessee (Courtenay et al. 1984, 1986). Because this species is sometimes misidentified as Goldfish, Courtenay et al. (1984) argued that there was an increased probability of its spread and possible establishment.

Leuciscus idus has a high probability of introduction to the Great Lakes (Confidence level: Moderate).
Potential pathway(s) of introduction: Unauthorized intentional release, escape from recreational culture, dispersal

Leuciscus idus has been recorded in nine states, but the documentation of its true status in the United States is poor and often contradictory. It was collected in the Chenango River (tributary to the Susquehanna River), between Hamilton and Norwich, New York, in the early 1950s (Courtenay et al. 1984) and also Cortland County ca. 1954 (Courtenay, personal communication). There are reports from unspecified waters in Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota in the 1890s (Nico and Fuller 2009).

Leuciscus idus is not known to be commercially cultured in the Great Lakes region but is sold as a pond fish in the Great Lakes region, and online hobbyists report keeping this fish in Michigan.

Status: Leuciscus idus was introduced to the United Kingdom, Netherlands, New Zealand, United States, and France (IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group 2010). It has not been well studied and has no widespread reported impacts, which would suggest it has not become highly invasive and spread extensively.

Leuciscus idus has a moderate probability of establishment if introduced to the Great Lakes (Confidence level: High).

This species is found in both freshwater and brackish habitats (Muus and Dahlstrom 1978). However, they do show reduced foraging success in turbid waters (Kuliskova et al. 2009).
While this species is not well studied, it lives in a variety of waters from the heavily industrialized, polluted Vistula River in Poland, to the pristine Pechora River basin in northwest Russia. Thus, it would likely experience a range of abiotic factors, some of which would be similar to the Great Lakes. It is found in both large rivers and nutrient-rich lakes (Froese 2013).  Leuciscus idus tolerates a wide range of conditions (Seeley 1962) and can successfully reproduce in waters 8-23°C (Kupren et al. 2011). Leuciscus idus are native to northern Europe through Siberia (Berg 1949, Robins et al. 1991). As the winter temperatures in this region are colder than the Great Lakes, this species is likely to overwinter in the Great Lakes successfully. This species eats larval and adult insects, snails, and other invertebrates; larger individuals also take small fish (Phillips and Rix 1985).

Successive year-class strengths and growth rates in northern environments are also likely to increase as temperatures increase. Evidence that northward colonization is already occurring comes from Russia. Over the last 10 to 15 years, Ide (Leuciscus idus) have become much more numerous in the Pechora River Delta and the estuary Sredinnaya Guba (~68° N) of the Barents Sea (Wrona et al. 2010). A study from Poland confirmed that L. idus embryos can accommodate water temperature increases up to 23°C (Kupren et al. 2011).

Great Lakes Impacts: Current research on the potential for environmental impacts to result from Leuciscus idus if introduced to the Great Lakes is inadequate to support proper assessment.

There is insufficient information available to determine whether Leuciscus idus poses a threat to other species or water quality. There are no reports on how it affects or interacts with other species. It is unknown whether this species alters the physical components of the ecosystem.

The main concern about this species in the Great Lakes results from relationship to invasive Cyprinus carpio (IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group 2010). There is some concern it may outcompete native species, though this has not been well-studied. Leuciscus idus has been found to host the myxospridian parasite Thelohanellus oculileucisci in Poland, but the parasite's effects on fish were not mentioned (Jezewski and Kamara 1999). This species has also been found to host the hexamitid flagellate, Spironucleus vortens, which may transfer from cultured to wild populations (Sterud and Poynton 2002).

There is little or no evidence to support that Leuciscus idus has the potential for significant socio-economic impacts if introduced to the Great Lakes.

It has not been reported that Leuciscus idus poses a threat to human health or water quality. There is no evidence that this species negatively impacts infrastructure, economic sectors, recreational activities and associated tourism, or the aesthetic appeal of the areas it inhabits.

Leuciscus idus has the potential for high beneficial impact if introduced to the Great Lakes.

Leuciscus idus has a huge economic value in Poland, as well as many other European countries, because its production is very high in comparison to other rheophilic cyprinids and it is produced as a market and sport fish. In addition, the ornamental form of this species (Golden Orfe) is also cultured. For example, between 2000 and 2002, the production of L. idus summer fry for restocking was about 4,700,000 specimens. One-year-old fish production (2004) was about 27,000 kg, which is 69% and 91% of the total production of riverine cyprinids for 2000 and 2002, respectively (Targonska et al. 2011). Leuciscus idus has been popular among anglers in some countries (Turkowski et al. 2008, IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group 2010, Kupren et al. 2011).

Management: Regulations
There are no specific regulations for L. idus in the Great Lakes region.

Note: Check federal, state/provincial, and local regulations for the most up-to-date information.


There are no records of control measures specifically for L. idus, although management practices effective for other invasive members of the Cyprinidae (carp) family could also be suitable for L. idus.

There are no known biological control methods for this species.

There are no known physical control methods for this species.

Of the four chemical piscicides registered for use in the United States, antimycin A and rotenone are considered general piscicides, but no studies have been found about their effects on Leuciscus idus (GLMRIS 2012).

It should be noted that chemical treatment will often lead to non-target kills, and so all options for management of a species should be adequately studied before a decision is made to use piscicides or other chemicals. Potential effects on non-target plants and organisms, including macroinvertebrates and other fishes, should always be deliberately evaluated and analyzed. The effects of combinations of management chemicals and other toxicants, whether intentional or unintentional, should be understood prior to chemical treatment. Other non-selective alterations of water quality, such as reducing dissolved oxygen levels or altering pH, could also have a deleterious impact on native fish, invertebrates, and other fauna or flora, and their potential harmful effects should therefore be evaluated thoroughly.

Note: Check state/provincial and local regulations for the most up-to-date information regarding permits for control methods. Follow all label instructions.


This species is still occasionally kept in garden ponds, sometimes in combination with goldfish and koi, or with other orfe varieties, such as the Blue Orfe (Smith 1995). Dill and Cordone (1997) stated that this fish is not known to have been introduced into wild waters of California; however, they also indicated that the domesticated form, the Golden Orfe, has been present in garden pools and commercial aquaculture facilities in that state for a number of years.

References: (click for full references)

Baird, S. 1979. Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission. United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries. Washington, D.C.

Bean, T.H. 1896. Report on the propagation and distribution of food-fishes. US Commission of Fish and Fisheries, Report of the Commissioner for 1884 Part 20.

Bean, T.H. 1903. The Food and Game Fishes of New York: notes on their common names, distribution, habits and mode of capture. JB Lyon Company Albany, NY.

Berg, L.S. 1949. Freshwater fishes of the U.S.S.R. and adjacent countries. 3 volumes, 4th edition. Volume 1. Vol 3 has 510 pp --translated from Russian 1962-65.

Courtenay, W.R., Jr., D.A. Hensley, J.N. Taylor, and J.A. McCann. 1984. Distribution of exotic fishes in the continental United States. Pages 41-77 in Courtenay, W.R., Jr., and J.R. Stauffer, Jr, eds. Distribution, biology, and management of exotic fishes. John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, MD.

Courtenay, W.R., Jr., D.A. Hensley, J.N. Taylor, and J.A. McCann. 1986. Distribution of exotic fishes in North America. Pages 675-698 in Hocutt, C.H., and E.O. Wiley, eds. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons. New York, NY.

Dill, W.A., and A.J. Cordone. 1997. History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996. Fish Bulletin 178. California Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento, CA.

Fletcher, D., and M. Hallock. 1992. Prohibited fish species in Washington as of January 18, 1991. Identification, biology, and justification for species restrictions. Washington Department of Wildlife.

Grift, R.E., A.D. Buijse, W.L.T. Van Densen, and J.G.P. Klein Breteler. 2001. Restoration of the river-floodplain interaction: benefits for the fish community in the River Rhine. Large Rivers 12, Archiv fur Hydrobiologie Supplement 135(2-4): 173-185.

Hamburger, B., H. Haberling, and H.R. Hitz. 1977. Comparative tests on toxicity to fish using minnow, trout, and golden orfe. Archiv fur Fischereiwissenschaft 28: 45-55.

IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group. 2010. Leuciscus idus. http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=613.

Jenkins, R.E., and N.M. Burkhead. 1994. Freshwater fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Jezewski, W., and A. Kamara. 1999. First reported occurrence of Thelohanellus oculileucisci (Trojan, 1909) (Myxosporidia) and Leuciscus leuciscus (L.) and L-idus (L.) in Poland. Acta parasitologica 44:145-146.

Kuliskova, P., P. Horky, O. Slavik, and J.I. Jones. 2009. Factors influencing movement behavior and home range size in ide Leuciscus idus. Journal of Fish Biology 74: 1269-1279.

Kupren, K., D. Zarski, S. Krejszeff, D. Kucharczyk, and K. Targonska. 2011. Effect of stocking density on growth, survival and development of asp Aspius aspius (L.), ide Leuciscus idus (L.) and chub Leuciscus cephalus (L.) larvae during initial rearing under laboratory conditions. Italian journal of animal science 10:178-184.

Lee, D.S., C.R. Gilbert, C.H. Hocutt, R.E. Jenkins, D.E. McAllister, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American Freshwater Fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina.

McDonald, M. 1893. Report of the Commissioner for 1889 to 1891. Part XVII. U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, Washington, DC.

Muus, B.J., and P. Dahlstrom. 1978. The freshwater fishes of Britain and Europe. Collins, London, and Glasgow.

Nico, L., and P. Fuller. 2009. Leuciscus idus. USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL., http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.asp?speciesID=557.

Page, L.M., and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes- North America North of Mexico. Volume 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Phillips, R., and M. Rix. 1985. Freshwater Fish of Britain, Ireland and Europe. Pan Books Ltd.: London.

Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. 5th Edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 20. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Schwartz, F. 1963. The fresh-water minnows of Maryland. Maryland Conservationist 40(2):19-29.

Seeley, C.M. 1962. A report on the orfe, Leuciscus idus (Linne). Department of Fish and Game.

Stahlman, S. 2016. Mid-Atlantic field guide to aquatic invasive species. Pennsylvania State University and Pennsylvania Sea Grant.

Sterud, E., and S.L. Poynton. 2002. Spironucleus vortens (Diplomonadida) in the Ide, Leuciscus idus (L.) (Cyprinidae): A warm water Hexamitid flagellate found in Northern Europe. Journal of Eukaryote Microbiology 49(2): 137-145.

Targonska, K., K. Kupren, D. Zarski, R. Krol, and D. Kucharczyk. 2011. Influence of thermal conditions on successful ide (Leuciscus idus L.) artificial reproduction during the spawning season. Italian journal of animal science 10.

Wheeler, A. 1978. Key to the fishes of northern Europe. Frederick Warne Ltd, London, England.

Wrona, F.J., T.D. Prowse, and J.D. Reist. 2010. Chapter 8.5.3: Climate change effects on arctic freshwater fish populations. In Saundry, P. (ed.). Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment and International Arctic Science Committee.

Other Resources:
Author: Nico, L., P. Fuller, M. Neilson, A. Fusaro, A. Davidson, K. Alame, M. Gappy, and W. Conard

Contributing Agencies:

Revision Date: 3/21/2018

Citation for this information:
Nico, L., P. Fuller, M. Neilson, A. Fusaro, A. Davidson, K. Alame, M. Gappy, and W. Conard, 2023, Leuciscus idus (Linnaeus, 1758): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, and NOAA Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System, Ann Arbor, MI, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/greatlakes/FactSheet.aspx?Species_ID=557&Potential=Y&Type=2&HUCNumber=, Revision Date: 3/21/2018, Access Date: 6/3/2023

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.