1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bitterling
BITTERLING (Rhodeus amarus), a little carp-like fish of central Europe, belonging to the Cyprinid family. In it we have a remarkable instance of symbiosis. The genital papilla of the female acquires a great development during the breeding season and becomes produced into a tube nearly as long as the fish itself; this acts as an ovipositor by means of which the comparatively few and large eggs (3 millimetres in diameter) are introduced through the gaping valves between the branchiae of pond mussels (Unio and Anodonta), where, after being inseminated, they undergo their development, the fry leaving their host about a month later. The mollusc reciprocates by throwing off its embryos on the parent fish, in the skin of which they remain encysted for some time, the period of reproduction of fish and mussel coinciding.