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Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Percidae
Subfamily: Luciopercinae
Genus: Romanichthys
M. Dumitrescu, Bănărescu & N. Stoica, 1957
Species: R. valsanicola
Binomial name
Romanichthys valsanicola
M. Dumitrescu, Bănărescu & N. Stoica, 1957

Romanichthys is a genus of fish in the perch family. It contains the single species Romanichthys valsanicola, known as the sculpin-perch, asprete, or Romanian darter.

This fish was scientifically discovered and described in 1957 by the Romanian scientists M. Dumitrescu, P. Bănărescu and N. Stoica. Local names include: asprete, poprete, sforete. Endemic to a very restricted area in southern Romania, it was found in the upper reach of the Argeş river and in two of its tributaries: Râul Doamnei and Vâlsan. Due to hydrotechnical constructions and deterioration of its habitat, it survived only in the tributary Vâlsan.


Romanichthys valsanicola is a small, greyish-brown fish growing to about 10–12 cm (4–4.5 in) long, covered with small, rough scales. It can be distinguished from other European perches by the two clearly separate dorsal fins, the first with eight or nine spines, the anal fin having 7½ branched rays and there being 58–68 scales along the lateral line.[2]


The time of reproduction is in May and June. The female lays 120 to 150 eggs under rocks. This fish is active at night and feeds on the aquatic larvae of insects such as stoneflies (Plecoptera), caddisflies (Trichoptera) and mayflies (Ephemeroptera). It hides under stones in the day.[2]


This species is an endangered freshwater fish and is found on the red list of IUCN where it is rated as "Critically Endangered". Its area of distribution has drastically diminished and it is now considered to be the European fish genus with the most restricted range. The last remaining population in the Vâlsan River is totally reliant on the amount of water released by the reservoir immediately upstream.[1] A Romanian NGO is working to preserve this species with the financial support of the Regional Environmental Center.


  1. ^ a b Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M. (2008). "Romanichthys valsanicola". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  2. ^ a b "Romanichthys valsanicola Dumitrescu, Bănărescu & Stoica, 1957: Asprete". FishBase. Retrieved 2013-12-29.