Gymnocephalus cernua - Ruffe

Phylum: Chordata - Class: Actinopterygii - Order: Perciformes - Family: Percidae


Ruffe are prickly little fish and are not much sought by anglers; they tend to feed on the bottom of canals and lakes and are not known for their sporting qualities. In Wales the natural distribution of this species is confined to the east, but they have been introduced into some waters (for example Llyn Bala) further west. They spawn between March and May.

There are several other common names for this relative of the Perch (Perca fluviatilis) including pope and 'daddy ruffe'. Its diet consists of insect larvae, small molluscs and fish eggs, and it takes typically five years to grow to a length of five inches. A ten inch fish would be a very large ruffe indeed.

Ruffe are unlikely to be confused with any other fish except possibly the perch; a distinguishing feature is the single dorsal fin of the ruffe compared with the two separated dorsal fins of the perch. Ruffe and perch have not been known to hybridise.


This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Dr Nick Giles.

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