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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Salmoniformes
Family: Salmonidae
Subfamily: Coregoninae
Genus: Coregonus
Species: C. hiemalis
Binomial name
Coregonus hiemalis
(Jurine, 1825)

The gravenche (Coregonus hiemalis), also known as the Lake Geneva whitefish or little fera, is a presumably extinct freshwater fish from Lake Geneva in Switzerland and France.


The status of the gravenche is disputed because there are no specimens in museums. While Emile Dottrens described it as subspecies of Coregonus lavaretus in 1958, other experts like Maurice Kottelat regarded it as a full species endemic to Lake Geneva. It reached a length between 25 and 32 centimetres.[1][2]


The gravenche is a benthopelagic freshwater fish that swam in the water column near the lake bottom, feeding upon zooplankton. Spawning occurred in mid-December.[2]


Together with the likewise extinct fera (Coregonus fera) it was one of the most caught freshwater fish in the Lake Geneva in the late 19th century. In 1890 the fishing quota of these two fish made 68% of all fish caught in Lake Geneva. Overfishing drove the gravenche to near extinction in 1920 and it was last seen in 1950.[3]


  1. ^ Maurice Kottelat: European Freshwater Fisches. An heuristic checklist of the freshwater fishes of Europe (exclusive of former USSR), with an introduction for non - systematists and comments on nomenclature and conservation; Biologia: Section Zoology vol. 52/5, Slovak Academic Press, Bratislava 1997, ISBN 80-85665-87-5
  2. ^ a b Kottelat, M. & Freyhof, J. (2007). Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes. Cornol & Berlin: Kottelat & Freyhof.
  3. ^ MacPhee, R. D. E.; and Sues, Hans-Dieter, eds. (1999). Extinctions in Near Time: Causes, Contexts, and Consequences. 

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