Tench - Tinca tinca

The Tench, typical member of the Cyprinidae Family, lives in stagnant or slow-flowing waters where the river bottom consists of very fine material, often covered with thick vegetation.

In this rather dark habitat, it would be difficult to find food (algae, water weeds and plants, aquatic invertebrates) by sight alone; this is why the mouth of the Tench has fleshy lips and two small barbels with extremely sensitive endings which help it feed in total darkness.

It can also evert its mouth to search for small prey hidden in the mud, while it can even break snail shells with its strong pharyngeal teeth.

Fairly common in a number of places, the Tench is among the least exacting autochthonous species from the environmental point of view; it easily tolerates low oxygen levels and in summer and winter alike it can survive the most critical temperatures by burying itself for long periods in the mud.

The fall in population levels in Italian waters is probably due to the introduction of "alien" species like the Catfish, which compete for food and are potential predators.

Considering that the Tench still enjoys quite a good gastronomic reputation, it cannot be ruled out that its decline may well be connected to illegal fishing with bow, trammel and other local types of nets.