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The Cactus roach is found in the Danube drainage above the Iron Gate (Kottelat & Freyhof 2007). Abundant in the Sava drainage of Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, found in the Sava, Sora, Ljubljanica, Mirna, Krka, Kolpa, Savinja, Sotla, Una and Drina rivers (Simonović et al. 2015). The cactus roach is rheophilic, requiring fast-flowing gravel substrates for spawning; found in medium to large-sized rivers (Kottelat & Freyhof 2007). Previously grouped with R. pigus, found in Italy and Switzerland (Bianco & Ketmaier 2014).
Construction of medium-to-large sized hydropower schemes in the Sava drainage in Slovenia (e.g. Mokrice and Brežice) have likely eliminated the largest spawning populations of the species in that region; continued hydropower expansion on the Sava threaten at least 50% of the species distribution in the Balkan region and perhaps a greater percentage concerning abundance.
- IUCN-Redlist Least Concern
- EUR-HAB-DIR III
- Bern Convention III
- Hydropower Sensitivity High
- Balkan Dam Threat * High
* The assessment of Balkan Dam Threat is based on the loss of habitat that would occur if all or most of the planned hydropower schemes in the distribution range of the species were to be built. For more precise specification see Fish Study, page 8.