Squalius microlepis was examined from recent and historical collections within the known range of the species with special emphasis on intraspecific variability and variations, and compared to its closest relative species S. tenellus (in total, 193 specimens; 33 absolute and 52 proportional measurements and ratios, and 12 counts including vertebrae). Squalius tenellus was perfectly differentiated in all statistical analyses and can be diagnosed by 76–95 (vs. 64–80) scales in lateral series, 68–83 (vs. 58–77) lateral-line scales, (17)18–20 (vs. 13–16(17)) scales above lateral line, and (7)8–10 (vs. 4–7) scales below lateral line. Squalius microlepis was morphologically heterogeneous, with two phenotypes readily distinguishable (phenotype 1 corresponding to S. microlepis s. str. as defined by its lectotype) by a combination of many characters; those contributing most to the discrimination were number of gill rakers, length of lower jaw (% interorbital width), and head length (% SL). Only phenotype 1 was found in the Ričina-Prološko Blato-Vrljika karst system; most of the specimens from the lower Matica and the Tihaljina-Trebižat karst system were identified as phenotype 2; the sample from karstic poljes near Vrgorac contained both phenotype 1 and 2, and individuals of intermediate morphology. As very limited molecular data exist on the two phenotypes of S. microlepis , we refrain from any taxonomic conclusions until new molecular approaches (and new markers) are used. We also report on a dramatic reduction of the area of distribution and abundance of S. microlepis in recent years.