Extinct species of fish

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



The gravenche was a species of freshwater whitefish (Coregoninae) that reached a length between 25 and 32 centimetres (9.8 and 12.6:in).

The status of the gravenche is disputed because there are no specimens in museums. While Emile Dottrens described it as subspecies of the common whitefish Coregonus lavaretus in 1958, other experts like Maurice Kottelat regarded it as a full species endemic to Lake Geneva.


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.


Together with the likewise extinct true fera (Coregonus fera), the gravenche was one of the most important species for fisheries in Lake Geneva in the late 19th century. In 1890 these two fishes made up 68% of all fish caught in the lake. Overfishing and eutrophication drove the gravenche to near extinction and it was last seen in the early 1900s.


  1. ^ a b 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 Christian Trépey: Corégone (Féra - Palée) (in French)
  3. ^ a b Kottelat, M. & Freyhof, J. (2007). Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes. Cornol & Berlin: Kottelat & Freyhof.
  4. ^ Kottelat M, Freyhof J (2008) Coregonus hiemalis The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species c. 2015-4
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2016). "Coregonus hiemalis" in FishBase. April 2016 version. Note: this source states that an introduced population of the gravenche, used for stockings, would still exist in the French Lake Aiguebette, in contrast to the IUCN account; this may represent confounding of information on different species.

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