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What is a Vimba?

By Jodee Redmond
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The vimba is a species of fish native to Europe. It is one of the members of the Cyprinidae family, which also includes carp, barbs and minnows. The vimba is commonly found in the waters draining into the Black, Caspian and Baltic Seas.

The average weight for the vimba is between 2-6.5 lbs (1-3 kilos). The maximum length of this cyprinid is approximately 20 inches (50 cm) in length. Colors on the fish's back range from a reddish-brown to a gray-blue tone. The flanks take on a silver tone, and the belly is yellowish in color.

An interesting feature of the vimba and other fish in this family is that they have neither teeth nor stomachs. The fish uses pharyngeal teeth located at the back of the throat to break up its food. The main food source for this species are crustaceans, snails and aquatic insects. The may also feed on snails or vegetation from the river bottom.

A vimba has a very well-developed sense of hearing. This species of fish, like all cyprinids, has a Weberian apparatus. This anatomical feature is a set of tiny bones that connect the inner ear to the swim bladder.

The swim bladder is a feature that is only found in ray-finned fish. It is made up of two sacs located in the dorsal area. The sacs are filled with gas, and help the fish to ascend and descend to various depths in the water.

This fish is normally found in the salty water of estuaries feeding European rivers. It migrates to fresh water to spawn in the spring. The exact time varies, depending on the region. Most spawning males are between two-six years of age, while spawning females are generally between the ages of three and seven. The maximum expected lifespan of the vimba is approximately 15 years.

The eggs are laid in shallow water on the river bottom, and may be placed on sand, gravel or on the roots of underwater plants. After the spawning process has been completed, the vimba moves back to brackish water until the following spring.

The vimba is prized as a food source among consumers in Europe and Asia. Commercial fishermen catch this species at the mouth of inflowing rivers in late winter and early spring. In Lithuania, an annual festival is held in May on the Nemunas River to celebrate the annual spawning season for this species.

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