Based on the analysis of six egg variables and incubation temperature of 65 temperate freshwater fish species, the possible relationships between oocyte diameter, incubation time and incubation temperature were reassessed and compared to the results obtained from marine fishes. Most freshwater species have eggs (mean ±s.d. 2·19 ± 1·52 mm) larger than marine species, that are chiefly demersal and develop stuck to various substrata, such as plants or rocks. A strong negative relationship was found between incubation time (t, days) and incubation temperature (T, ° C): t = 186·23e−0·197T (r2= 0·87). A strong dependence of incubation time on oocyte diameter (Ø, mm) and incubation temperature was also found and was defined as: log10t= 3·002 + 0·599 log10Ø− 1·91 log10 (T + 2), which explained 92% of the variance of the data set. Five major groups of species were defined based on the principal component analysis (PCA) of four quantitative variables. There were two distinct groups of salmonids, displaying demersal and non-adhesive eggs with a long incubation time at low temperature, the eggs of which required a high number of degree-days. There was a large group of species possessing small, mostly demersal and adhesive eggs developing at high temperature during a short period of time, and requiring a low number of degree-days. Between these two extremes, there was a fourth group displaying intermediate values and a fifth group including three species with large, adhesive and demersal eggs incubating at high temperatures during a short period of time. The burbot Lota lota displayed an unusual combination of variables compared to the remaining species in the data set.