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Freshwater finfish biodiversity and conservation: an Asian perspective

journal contribution
posted on 2006-10-01, 00:00 authored by T Nguyen, S De Silva
Aspects on biodiversity and conservation of the ichthyofauna in the Asian region, in comparison to that of Africa, Europe and North America have been relatively less documented. This paper attempts to evaluate the above aspects in the East, and South and Southeast Asia based on available information in the literature. The familial diversity in inland waters in Asia (121 families) is considerably higher than in African and Latin American. Also, the finfish faunal diversity of 21 major river basins in East, and South and Southeast Asian indicate that species diversity is not necessarily related to familial diversity. The fish fauna in the region considered presently is highly diverse with an estimated cumulative total of 7447 species. Amongst the freshwater fishes the dominant groups are cyprinids (Cyprinidae, about 1000 species), loaches (about 400 species) of the families Balitoridae and Cobitiidae, gobids (Gobiidae, 300 species), catfishes (Bagridae, about 100 species), and the Osphronemidae (85 species). In the region, 462 freshwater finfish species are reckoned to be threatened, accounting for 17.5% of the all finfish species in this status in the world. In the region there are 66 species that are critically endangered and/or endangered, of which 32 are cyprinids, 14 of which are endemic to Lake Lanao, Mindano Island, Philippines. The diversity of freshwater fish species in the region was significantly related to the land area of the different countries in the following manner:

ln (species ratio) = ln 0.384 (land area in km2) + 0.651( R2 = 0.628; p < 0.001).

In addition, the fish species diversity in the major river basins of the region was also found to be positively related to the basin area:

ln (Species richness index) = - 0.789 ln (Area) + 9.368( R2 = 0.748; p < 0.001).

Based on above relationship, the predicted fish species richness did not necessarily correlate to river basin size, and rivers with small basins were shown to have high indices. The paper also attempts to evaluate the reasons affecting fish species diversity in the region and suggests mitigating measures.



Biodiversity and conservation






3543 - 3568




Dordrecht, Netherlands







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2006, Springer